CIAC and DMHAS Partner to Increase Access to Resources for Preventing and Responding to Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Issues
CHESHIRE, CT (October 31, 2022) – Today, the Connecticut Association of Schools – Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CAS-CIAC) announced a partnership with the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) to provide mental health and substance use resources to high school students, athletic directors, coaches, and parents. The partnership will increase access to critical resources for preventing and responding to youth mental health and substance use situations.
Starting this fall, DMHAS and the CIAC will provide Connecticut high school student leadership, athletic directors, parents, and coaches with information to help identify and provide resources to students in a possible mental health or substance use crisis. DMHAS and the Connecticut Clearinghouse, a statewide library and resource center for information on substance use and mental health disorders, will also provide educational information about preventing teen use of opioids, cannabis, and alcohol and the inherent dangers of each substance.
As part of this partnership, DMHAS’ mental health and substance use information will be included in the new coaches’ certification program for the CIAC. DMHAS will also have a presence at CIAC Championship events and a monthly social media feature highlighting an outstanding Connecticut high school coach.
Dr. Glenn Lungarini, CIAC Executive Director, is thrilled to collaborate with DMHAS, “CIAC welcomes DMHAS as a partner in providing Connecticut’s student-athletes with exceptional experiences that enhance their cognitive, physical, social, emotional, and mental well-being. School communities will benefit from DMHAS’s expert mental health and addiction resources through our partnership. Together, we will deepen the relationships developed through interscholastic athletics by educating school communities on mental health and substance use prevention and treatment strategies. CIAC and DMHAS will provide all Connecticut students with the skills, knowledge, strength, and support needed to navigate today’s adversities and become tomorrow’s leaders.”
“It has been well documented that, as a result of the pandemic, young people are struggling more than ever before. Partnering with the CAS-CIAC is an opportunity for DMHAS to share vital information with families, youth, and people who interact consistently with youth through athletics. We know that more than half of Connecticut high school students participate in some form of athletics, so this is an important opportunity to share these potentially lifesaving resources with a large audience,” said DMHAS Commissioner Nancy Navarretta.
DMHAS promotes and administers comprehensive, recovery-oriented services in the areas of mental health treatment and substance use prevention and treatment throughout Connecticut. This is carried out through an integrated network of comprehensive, effective, and efficient mental health and substance use services that foster self-sufficiency, dignity, and respect. Alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention, violence prevention, and health promotion services across the lifespan fall under the purview of DMHAS’ Prevention and Health Promotion Division. DMHAS utilizes evidence-based strategies and provides funding to statewide partners to employ programs and initiatives that reduce and prevent substance use and improve mental health and wellness for Connecticut residents.