Partners in Prevention (PiP)
YES! Summit: Advancing Evidence-Based Prevention and Mental Health Systems in Indiana School
There has never been a more pressing or urgent need for substance use prevention and mental health programs. According to data from the Indiana Youth Survey, Y2022, almost 40% of Hoosier middle and high school students report feeling sad or hopeless almost daily for two weeks or longer. Many of those students say those feelings have prevented them from taking part in some or all their daily activities or have led them to drink alcohol or use drugs. Growing mental health challenges can also have a direct impact on educational outcomes—with a direct link between a student’s wellbeing and their academic success.
To tackle this crisis, in 2019 Healthcare Foundation of La Porte (HFL) launched Partners in Prevention, a three-year grant initiative to prevent and reduce drug and alcohol use. In 2023 the full evaluation report, key findings, outcomes, and recommendations for sustainability was released. You can read the full evaluation report and technical supplement below.
On June 14, 2023, Healthcare Foundation of La Porte (HFL) joined the Indiana Department of Education, Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, and North Central Health Services, Inc., to bring together 300+ Indiana school leaders, education stakeholders, healthcare providers, funders, and state and community partners for the first Youth Emerging Stronger (YES!) Summit. The YES! Summit, held at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Noblesville Conference Center, provided a framework for expanding evidence-based prevention and mental health support within K-12 schools.
The YES! Summit was made possible by a group of committed funders who know the power evidence-based prevention programming and mental health supports hold for students. Maria Fruth, HFL President and CEO, and Mary Wellnitz, HFL Special Projects Manager, joined colleagues from the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, along with others from the Indiana Department of Education, Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction, and North Central Health Services, Inc., to hold the inaugural YES! Summit.
Dr. Katie Jenner, Secretary of Education for the State of Indiana, kicked off the summit with opening remarks. During the summit, Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins, superintendent of Michigan City Area Schools (MCAS), spoke as part of the Strengthening Student Wellness Initiatives: Maintaining Stakeholder Engagement and Continuous Program Improvement panel. Dr. Eason-Watkins discussed how MCAS is collecting and using data for continuous improvement of their school-based prevention and mental health initiatives and programs, as well as demonstrating student impact to maintain stakeholder buy-in.
Let’s say YES! To our students!
Partners in Prevention Year 3 Final Infographic and Evaluation Report
We are delighted to share the impact, lessons learned, and sustainability of Partners in Prevention. Programs delivered by grantees have proven to be effective in preventing substance use and building critical skills that have been shown to prevent substance use. All grantees are continuing to advance these learned skills by embedding the program language and learnings into the school day. Integrating the teaching and reinforcement of these skills into the schools’ missions and daily interactions with students may sound like a tall order given the many responsibilities and accountability pressures facing educators and schools today. But little things can make a big difference, from how adults talk to students to school staff using consistent routines learned in the programs for situations like transitions and social problem solving. In classrooms and other school settings, children and adolescents need to have skills such as managing negative emotions, being calm and focused, following directions, and navigating relationships with peers and adults.