Published: Jun 16, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Jun 15, 2012 11:52 AM
Every day, organizations throughout Orange County are working to make our community a better place.
One of these organizations – Mental Health America of the Triangle (MHAT) – partners with other agencies to fill gaps in services. Two initiatives that have grown from MHAT’s collaborations include the Orange Partnership for Alcohol and Drug Free Youth and Reclaiming Futures.
Some of the partnering agencies include OPC Area Program (now PBH), Healthy Carolinians of Orange County, Orange County Public Health Department, Orange County Schools, the Department of Juvenile Justice, Volunteers for Youth and Chatham County Together. Our partnerships also involve local retailers, area treatment providers and interested citizens.
The Orange Partnership works in Hillsborough and rural Orange County, educating parents, schools, retailers and law enforcement about decreasing teen drug and alcohol use.
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 short time (about three years) that these programs have been operating, the Orange Partnership has significantly improved the rate of compliance for verifying a customer’s 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. It’s a powerful model demonstrating that treatment works and recovery is possible.
But this is just the beginning. More work remains to be done as we strive to raise awareness about the needs of teens and how adults in the community can help.
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 partnerships to enhance mental health services in Orange County, visit mhatriangle.org/
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