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Nonprofit First In US To Pilot Preventative Mental Health Program

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This week Overdose Lifeline is training to be able to implement a preventative intervention program, known as Preventure, at schools around the state.

Overdose Lifeline has been at the forefront of battling the opioid epidemic since 2014. The organization has provided the overdose antidote naloxone to law enforcement agencies across the state and advocates for education and harm reduction. Now, the group is the first to bring Preventure to the United States.

The evidence-based program screens adolescents for personality traits, which can indicate higher risk for substance abuse or a mental disorder. University of Montreal PhD Candidate Jean-Francois G. Morin, who is working to train Overdose Lifeline, says kids are then placed into five categories and invited to participate in discussion groups.

“That’s really what we call part of a stepped care model approach in which we’re trying to provide different sorts of care to different kids with different needs,” Morin says.

Preventure is used in schools in Canada, specifically in Montreal, where it was developed. But it’s also proven successful in London, the U.K. and Australia. Morin says the program coincides with a critical time in the opioid epidemic in the United States.

“Adolescence is that critical period in which addicted behaviors are getting picked up,” Morin says. “And to better equip our teens with tools that are appropriate to their personality, that could reduce the number of people who suffer from addiction.”

Overdose Lifeline Founder Justin Phillips says she’s optimistic about bringing Preventure to Indiana.

“We’re giving kids coping skills, and we could all use a better way of coping with anxiey no matter who we are and what we’re doing,” Phillips says.

Phillips says the group will start by piloting Preventure at schools in seven counties including Pulaski, Starke, LaPorte, Howard, Grant, Jennings, and Jackson counties. The pilot will run through the 2017-2018 academic school year. If it shows successful results, Phillips says the goal is to expand to more schools.

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