Prevention and Early Intervention Programs
MHSA Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) Programs Coordinator
The Prevention and Early Intervention Plan is principally organized around three projects: The Community Capacity-Building Project, the Family Wellbeing and Peer Support Project, and the Student Wellbeing Project.
PEI Project 01 - Community Capacity Building: This project includes two programs; the Community Wellbeing program and the Mental Health First Aid program.
Community Wellbeing Program
This program is designed to help communities develop and implement community-driven plans to improve and sustain the emotional and behavioural wellbeing of their members. The program embodies several foundational premises, including:
- Families and communities have primary responsibility for promoting and sustaining the emotional and behavioural wellbeing of their members.
- Families and communities have strengths and assets that already support their members’ health and wellbeing.
- With culturally appropriate support and training, communities can leverage and extend their strengths and assets to improve and sustain the wellbeing of their members over time.
In designing this program, delegates embraced a specific definition of “community,” as a group of individuals who have sufficiently strong relationships that they are able to provide tangible support to each other and can act together. Through the Community Wellbeing Program, Tri-City Mental Health Center staff (with support from key consultants) has identified a number of communities with strong leadership and a commitment to improving the mental and emotional wellbeing of their members. Once identified, these communities were invited to apply for a community wellbeing grant which allows their leaders to master the skills and framework needed to support their community’s planning and action to promote mental health and wellbeing. These community representatives are also encouraged to track the results of these efforts and measure the impact of the commitment each community is making to improve the wellbeing of their members.
Click here for 2013-2014 Grant Information
Mental Health First Aid Program
The Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Program trains scores of people in community-based settings to intervene quickly and effectively to offer support when someone is experiencing mental and emotional distress. This evidence-based program begins with the premise that just as people who are not doctors can master basic first aid for physical injuries (e.g., the Heimlich maneuver or CPR); people can also master basic mental health first aid without being clinicians.
In 2011, an initial group of 50 people successfully completed a five-day course to become certified MHFA instructors. Each of these 50 individuals is certified to offer a 12-hour MHFA course to members of the Tri-City area. The 12-hour MHFA course imparts knowledge and skills to people in an effort to assist them in learning how to help someone struggling with mental or emotional distress. Once trained, First Aiders are able to:
- Identify the potential risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, trauma, eating disorders, substance use disorders, self-injury, psychosis, and psychotic disorders
- Develop an understanding of the prevalence of various mental health disorders in the U.S. and the need for reduced stigma in their communities
- Implement a five-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources, and knowledge to assess the situation, and to help the individual in crisis connect with appropriate supports
- Identify self-help, social, peer, and professional resources available to help someone with a mental health problem
If you are interested in attending a Mental Health First Aid Training please click here. This class is only for those who live, work, or serve in the Tri-City area.
PEI Project 02 - Peer Support and Family Wellbeing: The Peer Support and Family Wellbeing Project offers a range of tailored structures of support and programming for older adults, older transition-aged youth/young adults, and for families of children and young transition-aged youth. The project includes two programs: The Peer Support Program, and the Family Wellbeing Program.
Family Wellbeing Program
The Family Wellbeing Program is located at the CSS-funded Wellness Center, and identifies existing community resources (e.g., the NAMI Parents and Teachers as Allies program, parent support groups), as well as developing new programming to support families of children and young transition-aged youth struggling with mental and emotional distress. As with the Peer Support program, potential recipients of these supports are identified by, among others:
- Mental Health First Aiders trained under the Mental Health First Aid Program, located in non-traditional mental health settings across the three cities
- Community leaders from unserved and under-served communities (e.g., Native American, Vietnamese, Latino, and other Asian and Pacific Islander communities) who are participating in the Community Wellbeing Program (also under the Community Capacity-Building Project)
- CSS Community Navigators
Programming reflects the culture and traditions of families who seek support, and as with the Peer Support Program, includes a range of wellness activities (e.g., exercise, music, cultural awareness activities, etc.).
Peer Support Program
Building on the success of the senior peer counseling model from the Center for Healthy Aging in Santa Monica, California, the Peer Support Program is available to TAY (Transitional-Aged Youth) ages 16-25 and seniors (>60 years) within the Tri-City service area. Volunteer counselors receive specialized training and on-going weekly supervision and support from TCMHC clinical staff members. These volunteers meet individually with counselees and/or in groups to provide support. Groups focus on providing support and creating opportunities for members to engage in projects that serve their communities and other wellness activities.
Potential recipients of these peer support services are referred in any number of ways, including through Tri-City Staff, area schools and colleges, faith-based organizations, and other community agencies or organizations.
To request Peer Support Services, please click here.
PEI Project 03 - Student Wellbeing: The Student Wellbeing Project is designed to support the three school districts of the Tri-City area in the development and implementation of an integrated plan to promote the mental and emotional wellbeing of K-12 students across the three cities. Similarly, this plan supports the local colleges in developing coordinated plans that promote the mental and emotional wellbeing of area college students.
K-12 Student Wellbeing Program
The K-12 Student Wellbeing Program engaged leadership from the three school districts in an effort to develop a plan to confront a number of challenges experienced by each of these districts. Through this collaboration, the Campaign for K-12 Wellbeing was developed with the goal of strengthening the wellbeing and resiliency of teachers, staff, students, and their families across the three districts. Sharing this common framework, each of the school districts created individual strategies for implementing this campaign, which is tailored to meet the particular needs and capacities of their own student population. Each school district also participates in various learning circles and other structures which help them share and receive lessons learned with the colleges and communities who are also implementing plans to promote the mental and emotional wellbeing of their members.
College Student Wellbeing Program
Like the K-12 program, the College Student Wellbeing Program has also engaged leadership from the area colleges to participate in the development of campus-based programs to promote the emotional and mental wellbeing of their students. The Campus Campaign for Strengthening Student Emotional Health and Resiliency is a multi-campus endeavor, designed to improve the behavioral health and emotional wellbeing of college students in the Tri-City area. Under this campaign, the leadership groups for each participating campus are responsible for implementing specific actions for their particular student populations with the common goal of promoting the wellbeing of their students.
PEI Project 06 - Therapeutic Community Gardening (TCG):
Horticulture therapy is the process of using plants, gardening, and the innate closeness humans feel towards nature as direct tools of intervention in programs of therapy and rehabilitation. Although horticulture therapy is regarded as a still emerging mental health treatment model, its usage and practice in early forms can be traced as far back as the times of ancient Egypt. During weekly program groups, TCG clients are allowed the opportunity to plant, maintain, and harvest fruits, vegetables, flowers, and other crops for therapeutic purposes and symptom management. Through group gardening exercises as well as team discussions / activities, TCG clients also have the opportunity to engage with peers and develop positive social relationships with others in the community. Other program activities include cooking classes (centred on meal preparation with harvested crops), games, field trips, and horticulture workshops.
“At risk families” (parents / caregivers who are enduring emotional, bonding, or communication difficulties with their children)
Young adults (16 – 25).