Prevention efforts focus on reducing or delaying the initiation of substances, mental health issues, and their related consequences.
Research indicates that adolescents who begin to drink before the age of 14 are significantly more likely to experience alcohol dependence than those who begin use after the age of 21.
Research also indicates that about 20 percent of youth experience mental health issues, and half of all issues start by the age of 14 but are undetected and untreated.
These youth are also at higher risk of negative consequences, including physical or sexual assault, unintentional injuries, memory problems, legal problems and impaired school performance.
DBHDID's Behavioral Health Prevention and Promotion Branch supports the use of evidence-based prevention strategies to decrease risk factors and increase protective factors and resilience to reduce the rates of substance use and suicide among residents of the commonwealth. Data surveillance and analysis serve as the infrastructure on which all prevention efforts are implemented to ensure effective and efficient use of resources.
The Behavioral Health Prevention and Promotion Branch supports the work of the state’s 14 Regional Prevention Centers (RPC), which are connected to the Community Mental Health Centers in Kentucky. Each RPC is staffed by trained prevention specialists who provide training and technical assistance to build the capacity and empower communities to implement data-driven prevention strategies focused on a community’s needs.
Strategies focus on increasing awareness of the issues related to substance use and suicide, educating community members on ways to avoid risky behaviors, changing environmental contexts that encourage substance use or increase mental health issues, creating alternatives to engaging in substance use, building capacity of community partners to engage in prevention, and identifying those at greatest risk and connecting them with trained care and resources. Interventions are selected based on the individual needs of the community as identified in a multi-pronged needs assessment built from local data surveillance efforts.
Suicide prevention efforts are guided by the concept that suicide should be a "never event." Branch staff, along with prevention specialists at the RPCs, provide training and technical assistance to community members and clinicians that support interventions ranging from preventing the occurrence of mental health issues, to supporting the clinicians in treating individuals who are at risk of a suicidal crisis.
For more information about the services available through the Behavioral Health Prevention and Promotion Branch, see the additional programs in the Related Links box, or contact the person shown in the Contact Information box. To find the Regional Prevention Center that serves your community, use the "Regional Prevention Centers" Related Link.