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Identifying Everyday Dangers in the Lives of Youth

Hosted by: Sanilac County Community Mental Health, Sanilac County Prevention Network, and Partners

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Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.

The Sanilac County Prevention Network is committed to empowering parents, caregivers, providers, and educators with the tools and information they need to support our children and youth and ensure their best possible success. Our daylong conference, “Identifying Everyday Dangers”, was filled to capacity—with a waiting list. Almost 30 attendees (out of 51) identified as parents. Parents were presented with information about underage drinking, vaping, marijuana, and the effects these substances have on the teen brain, among other topics. The speaker who presented on youth alcohol use prevention highlighted information on the effects of alcohol on the teen brain, and the importance of hosting sober events and of youth seeing parents enjoy themselves without alcohol. In addition, the speaker shared advice with parents on how to start a conversation about underage drinking prevention with their teens. Participants had the opportunity to tour a Hidden in Plain Sight room and learn how to identify signs that their teen may be using drugs or alcohol.

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

There is a great concern in our schools right now with the increase in emotional distress and anxiety leading to increased levels of vaping, marijuana use, and underage drinking. We are also concerned about the increase of youth homelessness in our community.

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

  • 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
  • Create more education and awareness of local resources and the need for youth prevention oriented services.
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Who did you involve in your activity planning, and who did your activity impact?

Our planning partners included Thumb Opioid Health Partnership, Sanilac County Health Department, Deckerville Community Hospital, Great Start Collaborative, Sanilac Independent School District, Bay City Prevention Network, The Harbor Youth Homelessness Initiative, and Safe Kids. Our audience consisted of parents, guardians, educators, mental health providers, and healthcare providers.

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

  • StopAlcoholAbuse.gov website
  • Communities Talk planning guides
  • Communities Talk toolkits
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Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the planning or execution of your activities?

Yes. We were unable to have a panel due to cases of COVID-19, and some participants dropped out due to the pandemic.

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

  • Needed additional resources to conduct activity
  • Unforeseen difficulties when planning our activity
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How did you overcome these challenges?

Our panelist canceled at the last minute due to COVID-19. Because of this change, we decided to pivot and had our guest speaker engage the audience longer and provide additional information about underage drinking prevention.

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What are your next steps?

  • Host follow-up meetings or activities
  • Support new prevention policies, legislation, or social ordinances
  • We would like to host our “Identifying Everyday Dangers” program again. And, we have begun planning a youth summit for summer 2022.

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