Mental health promotion, and the prevention of mental health disorders are both critical. Community and individuals can engage in wellness practices which promote positive mental health. Promoting prevention throughout Oregon can help reduce the length and severity of mental health disorders, and their far-reaching consequences:
For the individual: Enormous emotional suffering, diminished quality of life, alienation, stigma, discrimination, and other disabling effects
For the family: Emotional and socioeconomic hardship for family members and caregivers
For the community: Heavy costs to the economy and productivity due to extended treatment periods, absence due to sickness, unemployment, and increased turnover in employment
Since 2014, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has funded local Mental Health Promotion and Prevention projects. Led by community organizations, the projects aim to help everyone improve and sustain their mental health. This means children and adults can:
- Achieve developmentally appropriate tasks,
- Maintain a positive sense of self-esteem, mastery, well-being, and social inclusion, and
- Strengthen their ability to cope with adversity.
The projects must promote evidence-based, community-based interventions and activities.
Rewarding prevention-based strategies in Oregon communities
In 2019, OHA funded Mental Health Promotion and Prevention projects in 20 counties. The projects served more than 25,956 individuals and reached thousands more through social media, websites, online learning and other outreach activities. Projects include:
- Advocacy, stakeholder engagement and interagency collaboration: Train the Trainer, Honest Open Proud (HOP), youth groups, peer support, parent support groups, life skills, coping skills and self -regulation, harm reduction.
- Onsite and School-Based Services: Professional development for staff, Question Persuade Refer, Curve It Forward, Positive Behavior Interventions, Mental Health Tool Box, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, Mental Health First Aid (suicide prevention), STEPS to SUCCESS (bullying prevention), Second Step (social and emotional well-being), MindUp (social-emotional awareness to enhance psychosocial well-being), Collaborative Problem Solving, NETSMARTZ (cyberbullying prevention), CONNECT (creating youth leaders).
- Summer school programs, food security, tutoring, art classes, after school sports.
- Culturally appropriate refugee and immigrant resources and services.