Across the country, there are many youth who are struggling with issues they do not know how to approach. A large percent of youth in need of health services for substance use and behavioral health/mental health issues are not engaging in services until their issues have progressed to the level of self-harm/suicidal ideation/suicide/risky behavior, school difficulties/truancy/drop-out/school expulsions, lower pro-social engagement, juvenile justice involvement and poly-substance abuse. According to the latest Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics, despite our best efforts, drug overdoses of our youth continue to rise. The rate of overdose deaths from opioids is almost 6 times what it was in 1999. Over a third of these deaths involved prescription opioids.
The icanhelp program program is a novel school and community based program that trains individuals-viz. teachers, administrators, nurses, coaches, truancy and law enforcement, school psychologist, guidance counselors, prevention specialist/student assistance programs (SAP), and others who are involved in engaging youth that may need help in multiple areas ranging from education, family, substance use and behavioral health issues.
The icanhelp program is designed to improve:
- Accessibility of resources and services
- Academic performance
- Mental and physical health
- Quality of life
- Gaps in service
- New links for individuals and the community
The gaps that the icanhelp Program addresses are:
- linking youth early in their need for help and services by expanding the number of trained adults that they trust
- initiating a dialogue around some of the high prevalence issues that youth seek assistance for
- offering multiple doors for them to access linkages
- building a community database of resources and services; and
- following up with youth in need