Comprehensive Mental Health Services (CMHS) Receives $42,000 Grant from Jackson County COMBAT Prevention Program

Comprehensive Mental Health Services (CMHS) recently received a grant for $42,000 from the Jackson County COMBAT Prevention Program to provide a prevention program to targeted youth deemed by the schools to be at-risk for drug use and/or underage drinking.

CMHS will provide weekly educational groups for the selected students using the Life Styles Training (LST) curriculum. The program teaches students the negative effects of substance use/abuse across many aspects of life. Special attention is paid, in discussion groups, to the importance of avoiding violence, and the relationship of drugs and alcohol to violent behavior.  CMHS will also offer follow-up services to youth and families through referrals to adolescent CSTAR, Drug and Alcohol Recovery Services,  Outpatient Services, and Youth Community Support and Diversion. All offered services  would serve to increase family protective factors.

For many teens, illicit substance use and abuse becomes part of the landscape of their teenage years. Negative effects that are a result of drugs usually include a drop in academic performance or interest and strained relationships with family or friends. When considering those negative effects, it is alarming to see some of the actual statistics concerning the amount of teen drug use in high schools and middle schools.  Though national statistics show a decrease or no change in all areas of illegal drug use in during the last survey period, the rates of student use of illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco remain alarmingly high.

The LST program is based on research, and teaches students about the causes of substance abuse.  It addresses all of the most important risk factors leading adolescents to use drugs by teaching a combination of health information, general life skills, and drug resistance skills.  The program’s effectiveness is documented by over 20 years of rigorous evaluation research.  It has been proven to reduce the use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs. The program has been tested with a broad range of adolescents and has been proven effective with various multi-ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

CMHS has been partnering with area middle and high schools, providing services to adolescents for over 25 years.  These partnerships have provided substance abuse prevention and treatment programming to thousands of northeast Jackson County youth.  Comprehensive Mental Health Services is identified by the Missouri Department of Mental Health as the sole safety net provider of mental health and substance abuse services to the geographic area served by the partner schools in this proposal. School counselors continue to identify youth who are at particular risk for substance abuse and violence.  As a long time partner with our local schools, CMHS sees a critical need for prevention activities in the schools and as the safety net provider for the area we are the ideal community partner for the schools in providing this service.