Grant to Help Improve Co-Occurring Treatment for Mississippi Adolescents

Over the next four years, the Mississippi Department of Mental Health (DMH) plans to improve assessment and treatment services for adolescents with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders through the use of a $3.8 million, four-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The Mississippi State Adolescent Treatment Enhancement and Dissemination (MS SYT-ED) project will strengthen the State’s systems to serve adolescents, ages 12 – 18, with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders by developing two learning sites in Mississippi for evidence-based treatment for adolescents. The two learning sites will help develop a blueprint for policies, procedures, and financing structures that can be used to widen the use of evidence-based substance abuse treatment practices in Mississippi. The two learning sites will identify barriers to access and treatment, and test solutions that can be applied throughout the state for adolescents and their families.

“This grant will profoundly impact the way we treat adolescents with mental illness and substance abuse in our state,” said Pam Smith, MS SYT-ED Program Manager. “A key to this grant is the dissemination of information. We want to share what we learn through the two collaborative sites with the entire State in order to better address the treatment of adolescents and their need for recovery support through improved integration and efficiency of services.”

According to SmartTrack, Mississippi adolescents exhibit an exceptionally early age of alcohol onset, persistent use of marijuana, methamphetamines, prescription drugs and other gateway drugs. Various statewide assessments of substance use among youth in Mississippi indicate that about 64.8% of high school students reported having used alcohol at least once in their lifetime, 19.3 % reported binge alcohol use in the past 30 days. In addition, adolescents coming into substance use treatment often have co-occurring substance use and mental health problems. Among adolescents aged 12-17 years entering into substance abuse treatment in 2009 in Mississippi, an estimated 11.6% had a co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorder.

“The statistics alone clearly show the need for the very best evidence-based treatment for our youth,” said Pam Smith, MS SYT-ED Program Manager. “Families who have a child with a mental illness and are dealing with a substance abuse issue need access to treatment and real-time solutions. We want to find the gaps in the system and develop strategies to address the gaps in order to give these youth a better future.”

Anticipated outcomes of this project include:
· decreased juvenile justice involvement for adolescents,
· increased rates of abstinence,
· increased enrollment in education, vocational training and/or employment,
· increased positive social connectedness, and
· increased access, service use, and outcomes among adolescents most vulnerable to health disparities.
Community Mental Health Centers, Free-Standing nonprofit, and private nonprofit centers who have a two year history of providing co-occurring treatment services to adolescents (ages 12-18) who are interested in applying to become one of the two collaborative learning sites, can receive more information by contacting DMH at 601-359-1288 or visiting Any agency that applies must be in compliance with all State/Federal/Tribal licensing, accreditation, and certification requirements.

For a copy of the RFP, click on this link Mississippi RFP SYT-ED 2013

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