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Explore the Connection: Technology and Addiction

Hosted by: West Chester Communities That Care with West Chester Area School District

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Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.

Our event was an online training opportunity focused on teaching parents in the greater West Chester area about the impact technology has on youth mental health and substance misuse patterns.  

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

There is heightened concern in our community regarding the mental health of youth due to several recent suicides by people under age 25. We were able to help educate families about the relationship between technology use, substance misuse, and mental health concerns among youth.

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What goal(s) did you hope to accomplish with your Communities Talk activity?

  • Reduce prevalence of underage drinking and other substances in community
  • Create an ongoing conversation about underage drinking and substance use prevention in the community
  • Foster collaboration between community stakeholders for continued underage drinking and substance use prevention activities
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Who did you involve in your activity planning, and who did your activity impact?

We partnered with West Chester Area School District to make the program available to the families of 12,000 local students.

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Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?

  • We always appreciate seeing what’s happening in other areas of the country to help spur creativity and ideas for our own work.
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Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the planning or execution of your activities?

Yes, due to the pandemic, we had to host a virtual event.

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What other challenge(s) did you face in planning your activity this year?

  • Adapting to conducting a virtual activity
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How did you overcome these challenges?

Our partnership with the school district was crucial to the success of our event, because their technology infrastructure allowed for a much easier transition to virtual for parent presentations.

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What are your next steps?

  • Expand our coalition with new partnerships in the community
  • Create a public education campaign to raise awareness and/or change behaviors around underage drinking (i.e., create PSAs and other promotional materials)

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