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Strategy: Youth-to-Youth Antidrug Strategy

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Strategy

Communities use one of their greatest resources to combat drug use among youths–other youths.

Drug Problem Addressed

Young people are often reluctant to heed adults who warn them to avoid the use of alcohol and other drugs. Such youth frequently respond more to peer influence.

Teens are resourceful and imaginative. When charged with developing programs and projects for reaching their peers with antidrug messages, young people nationwide have suggested and implemented a teen activity center, training for teens to help peers, puppet shows or other performances that dramatize an antidrug message, youth workshops, “fun days” that feature positive alternatives to drugs, peer counseling and mentoring, awareness campaigns, community patrols, school-based youth projects, antidrug murals, cross-age teaching, athletic contests with law enforcement sponsorship and participation, parent-teen talk sessions, and many other programs. One thing is critical in a youth-led, youth-focused program: let the program belong to the youth.

Key Partnerships

Youth should be the program’s primary participants, although adults can be effective in supporting roles. Youths can seek the assistance and involvement of school personnel, community leaders, business professionals, law enforcement personnel, social service providers, religious leaders, and others.

Potential Obstacles

Some young people have more energy and enthusiasm than training. Supporting adults should ensure that young people acting as peer counselors or mentors, as project leaders, or in other positions of responsibility have sufficient training to do the job properly. Be careful, though: some adults have difficulty limiting themselves to supporting roles in youth programs. When adults take over, youths often lose interest in the program.

Signs of Success

In one neighborhood “good kids just stayed home,” said one young girl whose mother was afraid to let her leave the house. When the young people in town developed a youth center with the help of some caring adults, there was a feeling of safety among the neighborhood residents. In collaboration with the local police department, the young people connected to this center produced a video to educate their peers about the dangers of using crack cocaine.

Applying the Strategy

In Evansville, Indiana, teens organized a Teen Council and sponsored a video on alternatives to drug use, identifying fun activities in the area that did not involve illegal substances.

In New York City, teens participated in Youth Unlimited (formerly Youth Force), training other teens in life skills and implementing a program (Take Back the Park) in which a group of teens identified as emotionally handicapped restored a children’s garden in a park that had become littered with drug paraphernalia.

Members of the Natural Helpers Program in Hampton City, Virginia, train to help younger children avoid alcohol and other drugs. They have developed a New Students’ program to help youths adjust to new school situations and a Peer Partner program to help ninth graders adjust to high school. Natural Helpers serve as drug-free role models and special friends.

Sober living Connecticut facilities and halfway houses are readily available for those who are on the path to recovery and would prefer to reside in a transitional living facility to help complete their recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.

Men’s Halfway houses are gender specific, transitional facilities operating as sober living environments. Halfway houses emphasize the development of personal responsibility and accountability, relay greatly on the 12 Step approach, and are highly structured.

How To Recover From Mental Health

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Most of us suffer from mental health problems, though little or much. Although mental ill-health affects so many people, there is still no suitable definition for what mental health problems are and what methods to recover. There is at least 1 in 10 young people and around 1 in 4 adults experience mental health problem at some time in their lives. Mental health can mean a wide range of symptoms and disorders – like depression, anxiety, self-harm, violent tendencies, schizophrenia and various types of mania. It can appear at any time in one’s life and each person’s experience can be once and can last from several weeks to even a lifetime.

People suffering from mental ill-health will think, feel or behave abnormally. This can be confusing not only for them but can affect their relationships, their work or education, and their social life. Having a mental health problem can create difficulties for all family members, friends, and the people they interact with. Mental health problems are usually caused by a variety of factors including breakdown in a relationship, death of a family member or a close friend, bullying, abuse, divorce, separation from parents or loved ones, stress born of a person’s current situation. Mental health can happen suddenly without prior indications or get built up over time.

When people first begin to experience mental health difficulties they may not be able to fathom what is happening. In several instances, people tend to deny that anything is wrong with them or even suppress information. Their reasons for doing this could be embarrassment, a sense of shame or fear of other people’s reactions. There is no denying the fact that mental health results in social stigma. Please remember that there is a lot of support available to help people recover from mental health problems – in terms of counseling, therapy, medication and treatment in hospital. Different treatments are recommended for different types of mental illnesses. With the right support, the majority of people with mental health problems will surely recover.

Mental health saps your energy, hope, ambition and drive, sometimes making it difficult to do even the normal day-to-day activities. Although overcoming depression may not be quick or easy, it certainly is not impossible. Feeling completely better may take time, but you can get there if you make positive choices for yourself each day and draw on the support of your loved ones. Recovering from depression calls for positive action but taking action when you’re depressed is hard. Some simple things you need to do are physical exercise, eating right food and rating regularly, sleeping at least for six hours, going out for walks in open areas, interacting with loved ones, avoiding loneliness, refusing to think negatively etc. . You probably already know that these things will help you overcome depression but following these rules are not easy when you are depressed. This is the Catch-22 situation of depression recovery. The symptoms of depression such as fatigue, despondency, incoherent thinking, and low self-esteem make it difficult to take the necessary steps to recovery. A realistic recovery plan therefore involves taking responsibility for the choices and changes you do have control over and avoiding the things you cannot control.

All mental health problems are treatable if the patient receives professional care. Psychologists who are among the licensed and highly trained mental health providers with years of experience in studying depression can help patients recover from it. People getting mental health who do not seek help suffer needlessly. Unexpressed feelings and concerns accompanied by a sense of isolation can worsen mental health. Obtaining timely professional health care is the only answer for mental maladies.