Through a state grant, Revere High School will partner with North Suffolk Mental Health to deliver mental health and substance abuse services to students.
The Baker-Polito Administration made the announcement this week and the partnership between Revere High and North Suffolk is part of $4.9 million in grants awarded to six agencies in the state.
The state funding to treatment and behavioral health centers like North Suffolk will create evidence-based and data-driven substance use disorder/mental health response teams at Revere High.
These teams will be embedded in the high school in Revere and nine other communities to offer intervention and treatment services, and provide alternatives to school suspension for substance use.
“Disruptions to in-school learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic have taken a social and emotional toll on many students, and especially those most at risk for substance use and mental health issues,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “This grant will allow much-needed resources to reach students remotely and offer a mental health-driven alternative to suspensions.”
The program at Revere High will respond to students’ and their families’ needs, increase collaboration with schools, and provide support to students in crisis.
“We are very excited to partner with North Suffolk on this grant program,” said Revere Public School Superintendent Dr. Dianne Kelly. “It will allow us to increase access to mental health professionals for all of our students; which is a district priority. Because this grant is specific to high school students and based on the needs there, the program plan will focus on students with substance use issues and students with risk factors that typically lead to substance use. The deeper layer of individual intervention available through this grant will complement our existing support group program for students with substance use disorders and those who are at risk of substance use disorders.”
The grant at Revere High will be distributed over the course of six years with a total of $136,864 spent per year to support the partnership between Revere High and North Suffolk.
The state program is funded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) State Opioid Response grant. The grant will serve to support the Commonwealth-wide adolescent addiction workforce that is specifically trained and certified to provide targeted substance use interventions and treatment to at-risk students, reducing their risk of developing an opioid or substance use disorder.
The grant in Revere will support Massachusetts schools’ efforts to effectively respond to student substance use and mental health concerns, as access to high-potency marijuana products increases, rates of on-campus vaping surge, and the overall perception of harm associated with adolescent substance use decreases.
“Massachusetts is taking action to reinforce protections for children affected by substance use and mental health issues in these unprecedented times,” said Deirdre Calvert, Director of the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services at the Department of Public Health. “This grant program will ensure that at-risk youth receive the services they need to prevent substance use, help combat the opioid epidemic, and support families during the COVID-19 state of emergency.”