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Purdue Extension continues to educate Hoosiers about mental health

September 1, 2020
Stephanie Woodcox, assistant program leader for HHS Extension, stands with smiling graduates of a Me

Purdue Extension Health and Human Sciences (HHS Extension) was recently awarded a 2-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to continue and expand mental health and substance misuse education programs in Indiana. The project goal is to educate Indiana residents, especially those in rural communities, regarding opioid and stimulant misuse prevention, treatment and recovery.

For two years, Purdue Extension has provided mental health and substance misuse prevention and education activities, including delivery of the Mental Health First Aid program. Mental Health First Aid, an evidence-based program developed by the National Council for Behavioral Health, educates individuals on how to interact with and support someone who may have a mental health issue or be experiencing a crisis. A team of statewide Extension educators offers both adult and youth Mental Health First Aid courses (youth courses teach adult audiences how to support youth ages 12-17). During the past two years, Purdue Extension has brought this life-saving program to over 800 individuals in Indiana, and later this fall will begin virtual offerings of these courses.

The SAMHSA grant will enable Purdue Extension to expand its mental health education programs and resources. Purdue Extension will also offer training to mental health treatment/recovery staff through collaboration with the Indiana Recovery Network, a Mental Health America of Indiana subsidiary.

Stephanie Woodcox, assistant program leader for HHS Extension and principal investigator on the grant, will work with Extension colleagues and partners at the Indiana Recovery Network to bring these resources to Indiana communities.

“We have seen a remarkable level of interest from communities for mental health education, and anticipate the interest to increase given the current pandemic changing so many aspects of our lives. We have a great team of Extension staff and professionals from Indiana Recovery Network ready to provide education and training to communities statewide.”

Purdue Extension also has a website that features its response to the opioid crisis, containing program information, brief educational videos and resources.

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