Prevention Team Making an Impact Throughout the Region

Prevention is a critically important component of Rushford’s mission, and members of the organization’s prevention team continued to make an impact over the past year by leading and taking part in numerous community education events and activities.

In a major public display of hope, members of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network, including Natchaug Hospital Associate Medical Director Paul Weigle, MD, took the ultimate leap on behalf of clients on July 27 rappelling from the top of the Hartford Hilton in support of Shatterproof, a national advocacy group for young people struggling to overcome addiction and substance abuse.

Mental Health First Aid

Prevention staff served provided Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training to 188 members of the community, including two of trainings provided for Department of Veterans Affairs staff members. Several internal MHFA trainings were also arranged for members of the Behavioral Health Network staff at The Hospital of Central Connecticut.

Bus Driver Trainings

Prevention staff conducted 13 trainings across the state providing Positive Climate, or bully prevention training covering a wide range of behaviors that can have a negative impact on youth. Training sessions were offered over the course of two months for 500 school bus drivers employed by M&J Bus Company. Funding to support the training sessions was provided through the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, which works closely with Rushford to identify and prevent a wide range of behaviors that have a negative impact on young people.

Unity Day

Rushford Prevention professionals participated in the Community Foundation of Middlesex County Council of Business Partner’s Campaign for Bully Free Communities Unity Day Rally on Oct. 21 to celebrate diversity and promote a culture of respect. Over 350 youth participants from across Middlesex County gathered at EMPOWER in Middletown to participate in team building activities. The theme was Make it orange and make it end!  Unite against bullying!

Donny Marshall, the CFMC Campaign for Bully-Free Communities spokesperson, shares his story with students who pledge to become Agents of Change.

Stutman Group

Rushford and the Meriden Healthy Youth Coalition (MHYC) sponsored a program in which The Stutman Group, a team of nationally recognized experts in teen substance abuse, were invited to speak to more than 900 Meriden High School students. Bob Stutman and Judge Jodi Debbrecht Switalski provided a full-day program in October 2015 that included interactive sessions with students, administration, faculty, follow-up committee and parents.  The program began with Bob speaking to the students in an assembly setting. Bob spoke about the “real” world of substance abuse and the many misconceptions. The students were then invited to participate in voluntary focus sessions. This presentation resulted in the continuation of the efforts by creating and Education and Advocacy Committee of the MHYC.