Multiple Veldman family foundations, including those of Sharon and Matt Edmonds, Connie and Mike Joines, and Anita and Tom Veldman, have made a gift to the University of Notre Dame in honor of their parents to establish the Wilma and Peter Veldman Family Psychology Clinic and to endow several key faculty positions, marking a significant expansion in the quality and availability of mental health care in the South Bend area.
“The need for mental health resources has increased exponentially, in our nation, in the local community and on every college campus in the country,” said University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. “Given our mission to be a force for good in the world, Notre Dame has the opportunity to develop new models for the provision of mental health services and undertake groundbreaking research on how to treat mental illnesses, while also enhancing services for our students and helping to meet the overwhelming demand for more mental health resources in our local community. We are deeply grateful to the Veldman family for their support as we seek to bring hope and healing to those struggling with mental illness and build healthier and more compassionate communities.”
The Veldman Family Psychology Clinic will unite the work of Notre Dame’s William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families, the Suicide Prevention Initiative—Research, Intervention, and Training (SPIRIT), and a major new substance use initiative, while expanding the availability of affordable mental health counseling services to residents of the South Bend area.
The University’s strategic framework includes a commitment to addressing the nationwide mental health crisis as part of a new Health and Well-Being Initiative. The new clinic, a key component of that initiative, will significantly enhance the research of faculty in the Department of Psychology and offer immersive training for clinical psychology graduate students, who will be empowered to share pioneering evidence-based mental health practices with communities across the country.
The Veldman family’s gift will fund a new building for the clinic, to be constructed at the site of the existing Psychological Services Center at 501 N. Hill St. in South Bend’s East Bank neighborhood. The facility will create a centralized hub for faculty and student collaboration as well as an easily accessible service-delivery center for South Bend community members to visit and receive care.
Once constructed and fully operational, the Veldman Family Psychology Clinic will significantly increase evidence-based mental health services available to residents of South Bend and the surrounding area. The need for these services was highlighted by recent research by Daniel Tadmon, assistant professor of sociology at Notre Dame, which found that about 70 percent of Americans have better access to psychiatric care than those who live in the South Bend area.
The clinic will increase the number of senior psychology faculty, triple the number of clinical psychology graduate students and triple the experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate psychology majors.
The current counseling capacity of the clinic will double in the coming years, eventually serving more than 1,500 people in the South Bend community annually through mental health assessment, intervention and prevention services. The clinic will also foster partnerships with community organizations to advance access to mental health care throughout the region.
“Mental health is more than an urgent public health priority — it is a moral imperative that Notre Dame is especially well suited to address,” said Sarah Mustillo, the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “That work can and should start right here in South Bend as we care for our community while simultaneously developing new prevention, intervention and treatment practices that will inform innovative care across the nation.”
The expansion also marks an important step forward in a partnership between the academy and the Division of Student Affairs focused on a long-term goal of raising the level of mental health care provided to students.
Through the Veldman family’s support, the clinic will now be home to a significantly expanded presence for SPIRIT, accelerating its comprehensive and innovative work on suicide prevention. Led by co-directors Theodore Beauchaine, the William K. Warren Foundation Professor of Psychology and director of primary prevention, and Brooke Ammerman, an assistant professor of psychology and the Dr. Marsha Linehan Director of Secondary Prevention, SPIRIT pursues groundbreaking research on self-injury, suicide ideation and suicide attempts, and provides prevention services to children, adolescents, adults and families.
The clinic will unite these expanded efforts with Notre Dame’s current strength in trauma-focused research housed at the Shaw Center. Led by director Kristin Valentino, a professor of psychology and the William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families Collegiate Chair, the center advances the well-being of children and families through basic and applied research, improving public understanding of how to improve the lives of children and families, especially those who have experienced trauma.
Born in the mid-1920s, Wilma and Peter Veldman grew up on farms in Holland and lived through the Nazi occupation during World War II. As young immigrants, the couple arrived in South Bend in the early 1950s. They eventually started and operated a variety of automotive-related businesses in South Bend, beginning with a two-bay Standard Oil service station and ending with Tire Rack, an online distributor of automotive and light truck tires and wheels. Over more than 40 years in business, the Edmonds, Joines and Veldman families led Tire Rack to become the largest online tire distributor in the United States. Their faith, family and community were always most important to Peter and Wilma, and their family seeks to honor those values and their parents through this gift.
“Our family sees the great need in our community for better access to mental health care, but we also see the tremendous opportunity to make a difference through supporting Notre Dame’s mental health initiatives,” Tom Veldman said. “This is a moment where we can impact the course of our community by reshaping the trajectory of so many lives, and we hope others will join us in supporting this crucial endeavor.”
Originally published by news.nd.edu on January 09, 2024.at