HCN News & Notes

MHA Focuses on Teens During National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

SPRINGFIELD — MHA has produced a week-long, teen-directed social-media campaign to coincide with National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, Jan. 22-27.

“Alcohol is the drug most commonly used by teens in America, and drinking when you’re underage puts your health and safety at risk,” said Kimberley Lee, vice president of Resource Development & Branding for MHA. “National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week is an ideal opportunity to focus attention on the ways the bodies, brains, and emotions of teenagers are impacted by the use of alcohol and other drugs, such as marijuana, methamphetamines, and opioids. All drugs, even prescription drugs, can negatively impact the developing brains and bodies of teenagers, and their use or even appearance can elevate social pressures that lead to risky behaviors. MHA is going to shine a light on these issues by shattering myths associated with underage drug and alcohol use.”

Throughout the week, MHA will push a series of posts featuring individuals who are recognizable leaders and vocal advocates in the effort to combat substance use, including Dr. Robert Roose, chief of Addiction Medicine & Recovery Services for Trinity Health Of New England; Gina Kahn, director of Safe Schools/Healthy Students for the Hampden Wilbraham Regional School District; Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno; MHA President and CEO Cheryl Fasano; as well as several MHA staff from the organization’s division of Recovery and Housing services.

Posts to social-media platforms — including Instagram, which is frequented by a high proportion of teens and young adults, and Facebook, which is frequented by a high proportion of adults who are the parents of teens — will provide simple, straightforward information to help clear up misconceptions about the impacts of teen drug and alcohol use, with the goal of starting much-needed conversations among friends, within families, and in the community.

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week is also an opportunity for MHA to highlight one of its new residential programs aimed specifically at helping people who have a substance-use disorder and co-occurring mental-health diagnosis.

In a few weeks, Lee noted, MHA will open the agency’s first residential rehabilitation services (RRS) program, Recovery with Promise, to help clients with a co-occurring mental-health and substance-use diagnosis to live their best life by integrating their recovery with their mental healthcare. This 14-bed, 24-hour, safe, structured RRS program in Springfield will work with clients on relapse-prevention and harm-reduction objectives. The specialized services provided by RRS staff will help clients reintegrate into the community with the goal of returning to productive social, employment, and/or educational roles. By integrating goal-oriented clinical services with focused psychiatry and medication management, MHA’s RRS aims to help clients become stable and develop the skills they need to move successfully into long-term recovery as members of the community.

Lee also mentioned that BestLife, MHA’s new emotional-wellness treatment center, set to open this spring, will serve individuals, adults, and families with therapies, group supports, and individual mental-health counseling to address a variety of needs, including substance use, addiction, life-skills enhancement, assessments, and evaluations.

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