In an era where mental health concerns have taken center stage, organizations like The Jed Foundation have been instrumental in generating awareness and support for young individuals struggling with mental health issues. In an exclusive interview, I had the privilege of speaking with John MacPhee, CEO of JED , to gain insights into their efforts to address mental health challenges among teens in the United States.
Adolescents in the US are grappling with prevalent mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and stress, exacerbated by factors like academic pressure, social media, and the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. JED plays a pivotal role in addressing these challenges by collaborating with educational institutions to provide comprehensive, evidence-based resources that promote emotional health.
Through a multifaceted approach, the foundation engages and educates teenagers by leveraging social media platforms to share relatable content, personal stories, coping strategies, and resource information. They also conduct interactive events and workshops in schools and colleges, fostering open dialogues about mental health and reducing stigma.
Central to the foundation's mission is suicide prevention. They work diligently to build a community that recognizes signs of emotional distress and equips educators, parents, and peers with intervention skills. JED promotes holistic well-being, emphasizing healthy coping mechanisms and resilience-building activities to mitigate the risk of suicide.
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the foundation to swiftly adapt their strategies to virtual platforms, ensuring that support remained accessible. By doing so, they underscored the urgency of their work in a time of heightened anxiety and isolation.
Looking ahead, JED aspires to expand their reach and collaborate with more educational institutions, aiming to normalize mental health education in schools. Their ultimate goal is to create a society where seeking help is seen as a sign of strength and where no teenager feels alone in their struggles. Through their unwavering commitment, JED is not only creating awareness about teen mental health but also playing a pivotal role in preventing suicide and shaping a more compassionate future.
John brings 25 years of leadership and management experience from the business and not-for-profit settings to his role at The Jed Foundation. Passionate about supporting young adults in their transition to adulthood, John advises several organizations including the S. Jay Levy Fellowship for Future Leaders at City College, Trek Medics, Crisis Text Line, the Health Policy and Management Department at the Mailman School of Public Health, and HIV Hero.
Earlier in his career, he served in executive positions for Par Pharmaceutical, Inc. and Forest Laboratories, where he oversaw functions such as business development, alliance management, clinical development, regulatory affairs, sales and marketing. John continues to contribute to the development of novel medications for disorders such as Parkinson’s disease through board roles with Adams Pharmaceuticals and Blackthorn Therapeutics.
In 2016, John received The Allan Rosenfield Alumni Award for Excellence in the field of public health from the Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. He earned a BA from Columbia College, an MBA from New York University and an MPH from Columbia University.
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