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Artwork by @anatheavocado via @artformentalhealth

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The Jed Foundation

Protecting mental health for the young

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In 1998, Phil and Donna Satow lost their son, Jed, to suicide. He was outgoing, engaging and well-liked—how could this have happened? A visit to meet the president of the University of Arizona—where Jed was a sophomore—failed to shed any light. “What would you have me do?" he asked them. "I have many thousands of students on campus.”

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Rather than fold into their grief, the Satows made it their mission to answer just that.

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Two years later, the couple founded The Jed Foundation (JED), a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for teens and young adults in the U.S., giving them the skills and support they need to thrive. "Losing a child to suicide leaves a family so bereft that it is hard to know where to go," they wrote us. "But as one moves forward, the pain can fuel a passion that begins to heal."

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Motherhood is the backbone of Veronica Beard. Not only are the Veronica's parents—with 8 children between them—but Team VB is mostly mothers. We cannot think of a cause that resonates with us more, particularly as young people struggle with their mental health now more than ever in today's digital-everything world.

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That's why, as we enter the new year, we're proud to partner with JED for #VBGIVESBACK. From now until the end of March, proceeds from every veronicabeard.com order will benefit the organization, in addition to volunteer efforts and special give-back days at our stores nationwide. There's no better time than now to make mental health a priority.

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We hope you join us in changing someone's life for the better and in saving lives, period.

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WHY THIS MATTERS

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• 1 in 4 young people experience a mental illness; 1 in 3 high school students experience persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness.

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• Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10-34.

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• The sooner depressed or suicidal children receive treatment, the more likely they are to recover—sadly, most won't get it. In 2020, for instance, of the three million adolescents in the U.S. who experienced major depression, almost two-thirds were untreated.

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• As we all know, the pandemic only made things worse. Mental health-related visits to emergency rooms jumped 31% in 2020 over 2019 for adolescents (ages 12 to 17). And in early 2021, suicide attempts among adolescents girls were more than 50% higher than they were in 2019. Late last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics even declared a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health.

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• Social media has not only amplified the opportunity for harmful interactions, but has also been linked to a serious decline in mental health. Even more horrifying: teens who spend five or more hours a day online are nearly twice as likely to have suicidal tendencies as those who spend less than an hour.

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HOW YOUR DONATIONS HELP

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• JED helps teens and young adults build resiliency and life skills, promotes social connectedness and encourages help-seeking and help-giving behaviors through digital campaigns, the media and partnerships—for example, MTV Entertainment Group’s Mental Health is Health initiative. By engaging young people where they are and in a way they’ll understand, the nonprofit empowers them, making it less likely they will fall into unhealthy behaviors.

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• JED works directly with high schools, colleges and universities to put evidence-based systems, programs and policies in place to protect students' mental health. The goal? To make it more likely that young people will 1.) seek help themselves and 2.) recognize, engage and support their peers who are struggling.

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• JED mobilizes communities to create a culture of caring and destigmatize the conversation around mental health. Case in point: The national Seize the Awkward campaign, which featured high-profile figures, such as Billie Eilish, Caleb Williams and Noah Cyrus, sharing tips on how to reach out to friends who are struggling.

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THE JED IMPACT

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“The JED Foundation has partnered with my high school for the last three years, giving information for parents and seniors that is practical and crucial in helping them to gain a self-mastery of their mental health and well-being. As the school’s Director of Health & Wellness, I have shared their Set To Go website, Right Fit worksheet, and College Transition guide widely to our community, which found it so beneficial when the college journey began, and therefore felt more prepared as a family to tackle these relevant issues.” — Justine Ang Fonte, M.Ed, MPH, New York, NY

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"In our efforts at UNH to develop and implement effective suicide prevention efforts, The JED Foundation has been an invaluable partner for several years. JED has provided us with good counsel and direction, has been sensitive to the unique qualities of our institution, and guided us to choose among the best practices on our campus. UNH is much better for their efforts, and our students are healthier and safer." — John T. Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., Senior Vice Provost for Student Life and Dean of Students, University of New Hampshire

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"Participating in the JED Campus Program has been very helpful to Princeton in helping us organize our system-wide efforts at improving mental health and well-being, reducing student suicides, and reducing substance abuse. The Campus Program Framework has been useful in framing mental health as an institutional concern, and the recommendations generated through participation in the program has resulted in real change at Princeton. We are grateful for the expert consultation, and the support." — Calvin Chin, Ph.D., Director of Counseling, Princeton University

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“I would not have met and presented to teen mental health researchers from across the country had it not been for the support of my team at the JED Foundation. My relationship with JED began through Jessica Orenstein and Katie Cunningham. These two lovely individuals were gracious enough to hear out my plans for a nationwide town hall on student mental health and share it through JED’s channels so that I could reach more activists and researchers. They also invited me to join the JSA team, where I’ve found a wonderful home of passionate students just like me - it is so fulfilling to say that I’m even a small part of making a difference for teenagers everywhere. Thank you JED!” — Isabella Souza, Syosset High School, Class of 2021

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If you or someone you love is experiencing a mental health crisis, visit The Jed Foundation’s Mental Health Resource Center for essential information about common emotional health issues. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or engaging in suicidal behavior, seek help immediately by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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