What is a Recovery High School? Why do We Need Them?
According to SAMHSA, 842,000 adolescents aged 12 – 17 in 2021 had a co-occurring substance use disorder (SUD) and a major depressive episode (MDE). Only 6.5% (31,000) of these teens received both SUD and mental health treatment in a facility especially designed to provide substance use and mental health services. About half of these teens (52.4% or 440,000) received only mental health services.1 This means that close to half of adolescents in need of treatment for mental health and substance use disorders received no treatment at all.
Recovery high schools (RHSs) were created to address the needs of teens with substance misuse and co-occurring mental health disorders. To be clear – RHSs are not set up to provide treatment. In conversations with our students, they often don’t even want treatment. But they certainly want their lives to be more manageable. RHSs are well-positioned to meet students where they are to provide a strong academic program and recovery support services within the school day that strengthen and honor recovery.
Many of our students come to us unsure about their recovery and whether or not they want to stay engaged. However, an overwhelming number of our students, once they meet other youth in recovery, decide that they do want to give recovery a chance and successfully stay engaged with their recovery. In this setting, they find success academically and a newfound joy for the world in which they live.
The Association of Recovery Schools (ARS) was formed in 2002 to advocate for policies and funding for adolescent substance use disorder. There are now close to 50 RHSs in the United States. ARS is an accrediting organization that reviews the academic and recovery support services of its member schools and provides technical assistance to individuals and organizations seeking to start a RHS in their communities...
We're thrilled to share that the Peer Recovery Center of Excellence (PR CoE) has received additional funding to expand our efforts in three key areas:
Recovery Schools and Collegiate Recovery Programs: We want to establish and grow recovery support services in educational settings, including high schools, colleges, and universities. We are partnering with the Association of Recovery Schools and the Association of Recovery in Higher Education to offer training and technical assistance to support the establishment and expansion of such programs nationally.
- Enhanced Billing for Peer Services: We're working to strengthen the ability of Recovery Community Organizations (RCOs) to bill insurance for peer services, ensuring smoother and more accessible support for those in need.
Peer Certification Standards: We're committed to promoting SAMHSA’s National Model Standards for Peer Certification, fostering the alignment of peer services with recovery values and enhancing the quality of care and support provided in our communities.
To achieve these goals, we're taking a comprehensive approach. We're collaborating with national organizations and communities already doing this work to host relevant trainings, create and share effective tools, and provide tailored technical assistance in these new areas.
For any questions about our expanded focus areas, feel free to contact our program manager, Shannon Roberts, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peer Recovery Support Specialists:
Community Dialogue - The Intersection of Harm Reduction and Peer Support: Moving Beyond Abstinence-Based Models
Please join us on December 13th for this special lengthened community dialogue session where we’ll host a panel of peer leaders to discuss the importance of approaching our understanding of peer services through the lens of harm reduction. Historically, peer services, certifications, and trainings have been built around abstinence-based models of recovery in contradiction to common peer values such as multiple pathways and self-determination. This community dialogue will explore what it looks like to stand firm in a nuanced understanding of peer values and to move beyond the expectation of sobriety without leaving anyone behind.
We are pleased to announce our newest Steering Committee Member!
Dr. Onawa LaBelle is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Windsor, a Collaborating Scientist at Homewood Research Institute, and the founder of the Lancer’s Recover Program—the first on-campus student recovery support in Ontario, Canada. Dr. LaBelle earned a Ph.D. and M.S. from the University of Michigan, and a B.A. from Smith College, with all degrees in the field of Psychology. In addition to her formal education, Dr. LaBelle held research apprenticeships at Harvard Medical School, Mount Holyoke College, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Anchoring her professional training and experience is Dr. LaBelle's personal 18-year journey with recovery from addiction. Continue reading.
Stay tuned for more from Dr. LaBelle. Meanwhile, check out this news article about the work she is doing!
The Peer Recovery CoE, along with our Steering Committee member, Michael King, are pleased to announce our latest Organizational Stakeholders of the Month! Each month, we will select a few of our stakeholders in order to highlight their incredible work at our monthly stakeholder calls, in the newsletter, and our podcast. Learn more about our featured stakeholders below.
Congrats to Take Action Today, a vibrant, grassroots recovery community focused on fostering long term recovery in the lives of people experiencing substance abuse and/or homelessness. Take Action Today is committed to the development of Recovery Resource Centers, Recovery Housing, and the growth of a healthy, vibrant Recovery Community in Franklin, Jefferson, Perry, and Williamson County, as well as throughout Southern Illinois. We are a faith-based organization committed to serving all people seeking recovery regardless of race, creed, age, sex, color, national origin, handicap, sexual preference, religious orientation, union, political affiliation, or pathway of recovery. Our community is built on 3 Pillars: advocacy, training, and service.
SafeSide Recovery, believes in providing compassionate support and care to those struggling with addiction, and all associated results from their addiction. Including homelessness, incarceration, estrangement from family, loss of job and more. Their goal is to empower individuals by providing them with the tools and resources they need to achieve long-term recovery and stability. SafeSide is dedicated to addressing the unique challenges faced by underserved and hurting individuals who are battling addiction and understand that addiction is a complex and multifaceted challenge. They approach everyone with empathy and understanding. SafeSide Recovery offers a drop-in Center, peer support, harm reduction, as well as criminal justice and human trafficking supporting services.
Special thanks to The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH), the largest county-operated mental health department in the United States, directly operating programs in more than 85 sites, and providing services through contract programs and LACDMH staff at approximately 300 sites co-located with other County departments, schools, courts and various organizations. Each year, the County contracts with close to 1,000 organizations and individual practitioners to provide a variety of mental health-related services. On average, more than 250,000 County residents of all ages are served every year.
It is LACDMH's mission to optimize the hope, wellbeing and life trajectory of Los Angeles County’s most vulnerable through access to care and resources that promote not only independence and personal recovery but also connectedness and community reintegration.
Recovery Related News, Events & Resources
Funding for this initiative was made possible by grant no. 1H79TI083022 from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.
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