The need for prevention is now; Unleashing the Power of Prevention

June 24, 2015

Every day across America, behavioral health problems in childhood and adolescence take a heavy toll on millions of lives. These problems range from anxiety, depression and mental health problems, to poor eating habits and weight problems, to substance abuse, delinquency and violence. For decades the approach to these problems has been to treat them only after they’ve been identified—at a high and ongoing cost to young people, families, communities, and the entire nation. Now we have a 30-year body of research and more than 50 programs showing that behavioral health problems can be prevented.

LifeSkills Training is one such program. LST is a school-based prevention program designed to prevent behavioral health problems by promoting personal coping skills, general social skills, and information and attitudes related to specific health problems, and overall resilience. LST has been extensively tested and proven effective, with evidence of its effectiveness documented in over 32 peer-reviewed publications. This body of research shows that LST can prevent a wide range of behavioral health problems including tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug abuse; aggression and violence; risky driving; and risk factors related to HIV/AIDS. LST is effective when delivered by different types of program providers, under different implementation conditions, and with different populations and age-groups. And, it produces prevention effects that can last from adolescence to well into young adulthood.

But LST is just one of a growing number of tested and effective programs that have emerged from more than three decades of scientific research. This critical mass of prevention science is converging with growing interest in prevention across health care, education, child psychiatry, child welfare, and juvenile justice. Together, we stand at the threshold of a new age of prevention.

The challenge now is to mobilize across disciplines and communities to unleash the power of prevention on a nationwide scale. A new group of prevention experts, the Coalition for the Promotion Behavioral Health, proposes a grand challenge that will advance the policies, programs, funding, and workforce preparation needed to promote behavioral health and prevent behavioral health problems among all young people—including those at greatest disadvantage or risk, from birth through age 24. Within a decade, we can reduce the incidence and prevalence of behavioral health problems in this population by 20 percent from current levels through widespread policies and programs that will serve millions and save billions. Prevention is the best investment we can make, and the time to make it is now.

Read two recent papers on Unleashing the Power of Prevention, prepared by the Coalition for the Promotion of Behavioral Health and published by the National Academy of Medicine. The first paper, Unleashing the Power of Prevention, is concise summary of the advances in prevention science, examples of successful prevention programs, and opportunities.

The second paper, A Challenge to Unleash the Power of Prevention, is a commentary and call to arms.

University Tackles Sexual Assault Before The Parties Start

June 18, 2015

According to a National Public Radio broadcast, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men will experience sexual assault or violence in their lifetimes, the most vulnerable time being associated with college life and the ages 18 to 25. The U.S. Department of Justice Policing Services found that college women are more at risk for sexual assault than women of the same age that are not in college, and estimated that 25% of college women have been victims of rape.

Sexual assault prevention has become an important issue for college and university campuses to stop ignoring and address directly. Especially for incoming students who have not yet become accustomed to campus culture, awareness and knowledge about sexual assault and violence is essential. As a result, many institutions have implemented a variety of prevention programs, such as conferences, workshops, online courses, and forums, in order to increase awareness about sexual violence and assault and to promote the role of the bystander.

At the University of New Hampshire, one such prevention approach includes an online seminar that is taken by incoming first-year students before arriving on campus. It is designed to stimulate discussions between students and their parents and family about sexual assault in order by providing talking points and online resources and statistics in order to anticipate potential situations and instances of vulnerability for students. In the year since its implementation, the university’s Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP) has received two state awards, including the 2015 Presidents’ Leadership Award.

Another approach for preventing sexual violence is being developed by National Health Promotion Associates (NHPA) through funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Based on the Botvin Lifeskills Training program, this sexual violence prevention program will focus on issues that tackle topics of sexual violence as well as related issues of drug and alcohol abuse and risky behavior. This “holistic” approach will encourage discussions and awareness about difficult topics and help college students develop life skills that will help them throughout their college years and beyond.

Presidential candidates talk about drug abuse on campaign trail

June 10, 2015

Substance abuse is now one of the leading causes of death in the United States, even more than traffic accidents. As the election of 2016 comes closer, presidential candidates are extending their campaign speeches to focus on prevention, specifically on drug abuse, according to National Public Radio.

Across partisan lines, drug policy and prevention has become a major focus on political agendas and campaigns, leading to an increased opportunity for prevention funding in the upcoming years. What is being called the “hidden epidemic” – the increase in drug abuse across the country is being highlighted and unmasked in discourses by politicians as addiction and substance abuse is becoming a dangerous problem for an increasing number of people.

At a recent campaign event, Hillary Clinton publicized the importance of drug prevention and the importance of addressing not only substance abuse but also mental health issues. She stated that spreading awareness and reducing stigma behind these issues would play an important part in her campaign efforts.

Governor Chris Christie has also discussed substance abuse on numerous occasions, including on a visit to Farnum Center for drug and alcohol abuse in Manchester, New Hampshire. Christie argues that there should be more resources allocated for reducing substance abuse and increasing funding treatment programs.

This focus on prevention and drug abuse could lead to an increase in funding for evidence-based prevention programs. These programs have been proven to lower the economic costs of welfare and social services and treatment for mental health and substance abuse problems, leading to cost-effective, long-term solutions to these serious issues. Schools, groups, and organizations implementing programs that focus on prevention, such as the Botvin Lifeskills Training (LST) program, could reap the benefits of these funding increases and spread awareness and help reduce drug abuse.

Teenagers Seek Health Information Online, but Don’t Always Trust It

June 8, 2015

Four out of five teenagers look to the Internet for information regarding health, but they don’t always put much stock in what they find, according to a national survey conducted by researchers at Northwestern University.

image 4The report suggests that some online health content is neither relevant nor easily located by teenagers.  Researchers and developers at NHPA have been busy adapting the LifeSkills Training program to a progressive, technologically savvy demographic – teens.  The evidence-based prevention program has proven to be successful time and time again, so the methods of presentation must be constantly adapted and revised to reach the intended audience.

The survey indicates that despite this lack of trust, one in three teenagers have changed their behavior because of what they’ve learned from online sites or apps.  Vicky Rideout, the designer of the survey, states that this phenomenon proves the independence of teens and their ability to take care of their own health.  Most teenagers said that they read the first few sites that exposed in an online search, rather than investigating further. The information often did not directly speak to their concerns or was densely written.

“Sometimes all the sites have everything different and it’s like, which applies to me?” said an 11th-grade girl in a focus group organized by NHPA researchers.  How many more teens might have changed their behavior when given the online tools necessary for prevention?

Summer Training Workshop Schedule

June 2, 2015

LifeSkills Provider Training Workshops prepare teachers, school counselors, prevention specialists, police officers, community youth educators, and other program providers to effectively implement the state-of-the-art prevention education activities and teaching strategies found in the LST program.

Each workshop plays an important role in enhancing the confidence and skill capacity of participants, resulting in optimal implementation of the LST program. While training is not required, it is highly recommended in order to achieve optimal program results. Training increases the effectiveness of the program and assists providers to develop implementation strategies for the programs comfort and fit in individual sites

Online Training Workshops – Flexible and convenient; these provider training workshops are accessible from your work or personal computer. Enroll early to save!

Click here to view the full Summer schedule (check back for future dates).

On-Site Training Workshop – We can send a trainer to you! To obtain a quote or request an on-site training workshop, email or call 800-293-4969.

Training of Trainers (TOT) Workshop – This two-day advanced training workshop teaches you how to deliver and conduct LST workshops for your organization. Eligibility limited to those who complete an LST workshop and implement the program for at least one full semester.

Next TOT workshop date: TBD*

 *Help us decide where we should host our next workshop! Email with your suggestions.

Fighting addiction before it starts | The Recorder

May 19, 2015

The Franklin Regional Council of Governments was among 26 municipalities and institutions awarded $2.9 million in grants through the Department of Public Health Monday, money the administration said is intended to combat opioid abuse before it starts.

Locally, it means continued life for the Communities that Care Coalition’s efforts.

Rachel Stoler, the Council of Government’s Partnership for Youth co-coordinator, said the Partnership has held a grant for the past seven years or so on behalf of the Communities that Care Coalition to address underage drinking. The money has been used for compliance checks and social marketing and social norms campaigns, and teacher trainings in the Botvin LifeSkills curriculum to prevent youth substance abuse and violence.

via Fighting addiction before it starts | The Recorder.

Learn more about the LifeSkills Training Middle School program

May 13, 2015

LifeSkills Training Middle School program:  Effective and Engaging Prevention Education for Healthy and Drug-Free Youth

In this informative presentation, participants will explore the underpinnings of the Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) Middle School program, review program levels and support, and gain insight into program fidelity and implementation options.

Are you considering implementing a quality evidence-based prevention program? Are you and or your colleagues interested in learning more about the field? Then join us at our webinar.

Duration:  30 minutes

Format:  Webinar

Cost: $0.00 (Space is limited)

About the Presenter:  Craig Zettle has presented at national and international conferences over the last 15 years.  He has been active in prevention education with the Botvin LifeSkills Training program for the last 10 years and regularly consults with schools, districts, federal and state agencies, as well as community-based organizations on the implementation and support of the Botvin LifeSkills Training program. 

Register: Wednesday, May 20th at 11am EDT Attendees will be entered into a raffle for a complimentary LifeSkills Online Training  for one person.


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