Please allow me, therefore, to share with you some personal reflections on this past year, of concern and hope, through the lens of the Steve Fund’s mission of supporting the mental health and emotional well-being of young people of color.
When we started the Steve Fund three and a half years ago, we knew that colleges and universities had an urgent need to improve support for the mental health of students of color. Over the last year, we have experienced significant stresses of violence, hate crimes and changes in immigration policy. The bottom line is: Almost everybody is experiencing more stress these days. But for young people of color, maintaining mental health and emotional well-being has, without a doubt, become especially more challenging.
But then, there are new hopes…
At the Steve Fund, we are nourished with a feeling of hope from being immersed in the work of improving the support for the mental health of young people of color. Highlights this year included:
- A massive build-out of our programs and services, designed to assist colleges, universities and nonprofits in improving their support of the mental health and emotional well-being of students of color.
- A social media campaign and reaching out to over 100 potential partners to promote our partnership with Crisis Text Line, a service allowing young people to text “STEVE” to 741741 to be connected with a crisis counselor 24/7.
- Partnering with the University of Pennsylvania for the Fund’s fourth national conference, Young, Gifted & @Risk, with a standing-room-only audience of 350 participants from 25 states (click here to watch a two-minute video with video vignettes from the conference).
- Teaming up with 56 higher education and pipeline organizations, touching almost one million students with crucial information about student-of-color mental health support.
One of our most important milestones in 2017 was the launch of the Equity in Mental Health Framework in partnership with the JED Foundation. This framework provides ten expert recommendations and implementation strategies for colleges and universities to support and enhance the mental health of students of color. It is our most strategic endeavor to date. There has never been anything like it in the history of American higher education. For the first time, colleges and universities now have concrete expert guidelines and strategies for better supporting the mental health of students of color.
For 2018, the implementation of the Equity in Mental Health Framework will be an important focus of the Steve Fund’s work.
Thank you for your interest. Thank you for your involvement. Thank you for your support.
May you and your loved ones enjoy health, peace, happiness–and hope–in 2018.
Evan M. Rose
President of the Board
The Steve Fund