Published: Jun 09, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Jun 09, 2012 12:22 PM
Every day, organizations throughout Orange County are working in partnership to make our community a better place for its residents.
One of those organizations Mental Health America of the Triangle (MHAT) partners with other agencies to fill gaps in needed services.
Two initiatives that have grown from MHATs collaboration with other agencies include the Orange Partnership for Alcohol and Drug Free Youth and Reclaiming Futures. Both of these programs pool their resources to improve the lives of our young people.
The Orange Partnership works exclusively in Hillsborough and rural Orange County, focusing on prevention and social change by educating parents, schools, retailers and law enforcement about the important roles they play in decreasing drug and alcohol use among teens.
Based on a national model, Reclaiming Futures identifies teens in the juvenile justice system within Orange and Chatham Counties whose court-involved issues might be related to an untreated substance abuse or mental illness, and matches them with appropriate treatment providers.
In the three years these programs have been operating, the impact has been impressive.
Through our training efforts with local retailers the Orange Partnership has significantly improved the rate of compliance for verifying a customers age prior to selling alcoholic beverages.
In addition, a confidential, anonymous tip line (1-888-888-TIPS), offered in partnership with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Coalition for Alcohol and Drug-Free Teens, enables the public to get involved and report underage drinking and adults who provide alcohol to youth.
Similarly, Reclaiming Futures has reduced recidivism rates of teens in the juvenile justice system by connecting them to treatment services and pro-social activities, which helps to break the cycle of negative peer influences.
Its a powerful model demonstrating that treatment works and recovery is possible.
But this is just the beginning. More work remains to be done.
Although we operate as separate entities, the Orange Partnership and Reclaiming Futures often collaborate on projects.
As stakeholders in our community, our work together and in partnership with other agencies identifies gaps in mental health services and helps to develop solutions to close those gaps.
Through this collaborative effort, the community gets the best bang for its buck: a broad spectrum of quality, cost-effective services that support families and raise awareness about mental health issues and treatment options.
To learn more about the Orange Partnership, Reclaiming Futures and other efforts to enhance mental health services in Orange County, visit mhatriangle.org