Inaugural New Jersey Higher Education Mental Health Summit Hosted by Seton Hall University Gathers Professionals From Across State to Tackle Growing Young Adult Mental Health Crisis 

Updated on November 17, 2023

As part of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s commitment to strengthening Youth Mental Health, staff from colleges and universities across New Jersey are coming together for the first time on January 10, 2024 at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ to share best practices to best support college students at the inaugural New Jersey Higher Education Mental Health Summit. Hundreds of professionals and front-line practitioners are expected to attend the gathering and collaborate across disciplines to combat the youth mental health crisis, and develop methods to foster the psychological health and well-being of students to help them thrive, develop and achieve personal and academic success. Registration is now open.

Conference highlights will include a keynote address by Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, co-founder of the legendary rap group Run-DMC, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and mental health advocate. With the emphasis on student mental health being the work of many individuals across campus, the conference is designed to be beneficial not only for campus mental health practitioners and counseling services but also Chief Student Affairs officers, Campus Police and Public Safety Departments, Residence Life, Athletics/Athletic Training staff, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice staff, Disability Support Services, Health Services, Advisors for EOP/EOF and First Gen programs, and all staff dedicated to student success and well-being.  

“The summit is an opportunity for colleagues from all of our campuses to learn from one another and share best practices,” said Karen Van Norman, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students at Seton Hall University, Summit Co-chair. She added, “We know that addressing the mental health needs of our students is the work of everyone on campus, not just our counseling centers.”

The 2023 Health Minds Survey indicated that 44% of college students reported symptoms of depression and 37% experienced anxiety. More than ever, institutions of higher education must work in partnership to address the challenges facing college students’ mental health.

Van Norman serves as the Summit’s Co-Chair alongside Dr. Sara Klein, Vice President for Student Affairs at Stevens Institute of Technology. 

The collaborative nature of this event is a large priority of the Summit’s Steering Committee stated Klein, explaining, “We see the Summit as an opportunity for all higher education staff in New Jersey, and beyond, who work closely with students to learn and make connections with colleagues – even those staff members who may typically not attend a student affairs-focused conference.” 

“This is the first such Summit offered in the State of New Jersey, and we are thrilled with the response we have already received.  We hope this sets a precedent for future collaborations across the state that enhance training and development for higher education staff and ultimately improve the lives of our students,” she added.  

Attendees can choose from nine morning breakout sessions and nine afternoon sessions, featuring expertise from dozens of dedicated higher education experts and front-line practitioners as well as illustrative case studies from throughout academia, including: 

  • Best Practices and Collaborative Care for Student Athlete Mental Health
  • Beyond the Books: Promoting Psychology Well-Being Among First-Gen Students
  • Creating Services and an Environment that Supports People of Color and Diverse Populations
  • A Collaborative Holistic Approach to Addressing Interpersonal Violence
  • New Avenues for Student Involvement in Promoting a Positive Mental Health Culture 
  • Power of Pebbles: The Impact of Therapy Dogs of Campus Life
  • Student Athlete Mental Health: An Athletic Trainer’s Perspective
  • Supporting Autistic Students in College
  • The Madison Holleran Act Amendment: Its Purpose & Impact on NJ Campuses
  • What’s the Point of Having a College Counseling Center Today?

For more information on the Summit and to register, visit the NJ Mental Health Summit website.

ABOUT SETON HALL UNIVERSITYOne of the country’s leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall has been showing the world what great minds can do since 1856. Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offering more than 90 rigorous majors, Seton Hall’s academic excellence has been singled out for distinction by The Princeton Review, US News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek.  Seton Hall, which embraces students of all religions, prepares its graduates to be exemplary servant leaders and caring global citizens. Its attractive main campus is located in suburban South Orange, New Jersey, and is only 14 miles from New York City, offering a wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities. A new independent economic analysis of the University found that Seton Hall provides a significant impact on New Jersey’s economy, totaling over $1.6 billion annually and creating and sustaining nearly 10,000 jobs. The University’s nationally recognized School of Law is prominently located in downtown Newark. The University’s Interprofessional Health Sciences (IHS) campus in Clifton and Nutley, New Jersey houses Seton Hall’s College of Nursing, its School of Health and Medical Sciences as well as the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine.  For more information, visit

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