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Empowering youth by encouraging resiliency

Resiliency is an inner capacity that when nurtured, facilitated, and supported by others empowers children, youth, and families to successfully meet life’s challenges with a sense of self-determination, mastery and hope.
(Resiliency Leadership Ohio, 2008)

Good behavioral health among young people is essential to resisting substance abuse and addiction

It’s important we do more than simply ask our youth to “just say no,” but that we also look at “why.” What makes the difference between the child who passes on pills at a party, and the child who doesn’t? How can we encourage and facilitate the resilience of our young people?

Both national and Ohio research suggests that prevention interventions can have a positive impact on both behavioral health outcomes such as substance abuse and academic outcomes such as school attendance, school discipline and grades. By encouraging increased self-efficacy and self-esteem, good decision making skills, strong mental health and sound strategies to cope with emotions like anger, sadness and stress, we can arm our most vulnerable youth with skills and strategies to put their drug prevention knowledge into practice.

Building Youth Resiliency is an important part of Ohio’s youth drug prevention initiative, “Start Talking: Building a Drug-Free Future.”

Collaborative projects are helping in Ohio communities

To support Ohio’s most vulnerable student populations, the Office of Ohio First Lady Karen W. Kasich, in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and the Departments of Aging, Job and Family Services, and Mental Health and Addiction Services, funded evidence-based programming that encourages resilience development in a drug prevention education context. This initiative gave competitively selected communities and schools the tools to develop resiliency among their students so they have the courage to push back against peer pressure.

Selected programming was funded using federal TANF dollars in compliance with TANF funding regulations and restrictions. Eligible programming locations were limited to Ohio schools where 40 percent or greater of the student population was eligible for the free and reduced lunch program. The school-based programming focused on students in grades 5-9. Applicants were either 501(c)3 organizations or school districts.

Programming supported healthy social and emotional development as defined in 40 Developmental Assets® for Adolescents as developed by the Search Institute®. The selected communities also had to submit a plan for sustainability of community substance abuse prevention.

State of Ohio grants support youth drug prevention programming in schools
To learn more about Resiliency, contact:

Molly Stone
Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
Phone: (614) 728-6866

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