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Morneau Shepell and The Jed Foundation to study international student success and acculturation

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Corporate / Mental Health / United States

Morneau Shepell and The Jed Foundation to study international student success and acculturation

Year-long study will examine the impact of using Morneau Shepell’s culturally and language-relevant technology to support international students experiencing emotional health issues

CHICAGO, September 11, 2017 – Morneau Shepell, a leading organization in international student support, today announced a partnership with The Jed Foundation (JED), a national nonprofit that exists to protect emotional health and prevent suicide for teens and young adults. Morneau Shepell and JED are conducting a year-long study to examine the impact of Morneau Shepell’s specialized International Student Support Program (ISSP), which is designed to complement academic institutions’ on-campus services by connecting at-risk international students with support in their own language and from their own culture through instant 24/7 chat via an app, online and by telephone, as well as providing ongoing support through telephone and video chat. The study, which will be in the field for one year, began September 1, 2017. It will evaluate the impact of ISSP on international students’ personal coping skills, emotional struggles, acculturation and success.

“Studying in another country provides international students with an exciting opportunity, but it can also cause significant stress as students adjust to changes in lifestyle and routine,” said Barb Veder, vice president, clinical services and research lead, Morneau Shepell. “If not adequately addressed, these stressors can put international students at heightened risk of developing emotional health issues, which in turn can impact their academic performance.”

Research by the Healthy Minds Network shows that, when compared to their American counterparts, international students are 2.5 times more likely to experience stigma associated with mental health and are significantly less likely to reach out for support.

“JED believes in a comprehensive, public health approach to promoting student emotional well-being and preventing serious substance use problems and suicide. Part of such an approach involves identifying students who may feel disconnected and isolated and who also may be less likely to seek help,” said Nance Roy, chief clinical officer, JED. “We are glad to be conducting this research with Morneau Shepell to learn more about effective strategies to support international students who can feel disconnected and are less likely to reach out for assistance through traditional means, and help ensure that they are provided with targeted support.”

“It is estimated that by 2025, eight million students will be studying abroad,” said Matthew McEvoy, senior director, ISSP, Morneau Shepell. “We are thrilled to partner with JED in this research to inform the delivery of alternate forms of support customized to international students’ needs. Through the research, we hope to improve the understanding of matching language and culture through digital tools to address concerns of personal and emotional stress, and foster international student success.”

The final results of the study will be announced in 2018.

About JED

JED is a national nonprofit that exists to protect emotional health and prevent suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. We’re partnering with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention programming and systems. We’re equipping teens and young adults with the skills and support to grow into healthy, thriving adults; and we’re encouraging community awareness, understanding and action for young adult mental health.

Learn more at Check out our programs including: JED Campus (, Set to Go (, ULifeline (, Half of Us ( and Love is Louder (

About Morneau Shepell

Morneau Shepell is a leading North American human resources consulting and technology company with global reach, delivering solutions that integrate both the needs of organizations and their people in employee assistance, health and wellness, benefits and retirement planning and pension administration. The Company is a leading provider of employee assistance programs and administrator of retirement and benefits plans, and has a growing presence in the North American market for absence and disability management solutions. Through strategic HR consulting, innovative plan design and comprehensive technology solutions, the Company is powering positive change in progressive organizations by helping clients solve complex workforce problems, increase employee productivity, reduce costs and improve their competitive position. Established in 1966, Morneau Shepell serves approximately 20,000 clients, ranging from small businesses to some of the largest corporations and associations. With more than 4,000 employees in offices across North America, Morneau Shepell provides services to organizations across North America and around the globe.


Heather MacDonald
Morneau Shepell

Catherine Snider
Kaiser Lachance Communications
647.725.2520 x 212

Andrea Morgan
Makovsky for The Jed Foundation
917-213- 5506