Researchers have identified multiple risk and protective factors that are associated with substance misuse and other behaviors that affect the health and success of youth (communitiesthatcare.net). Risk factors are individual, social, and environmental characteristics that increase a person’s chances for developing behavioral and substance use disorders, whereas protective factors may keep them from engaging in those behaviors. The presence of multiple protective factors can act as a buffer and lessen the impact of risk factors (youth.gov). Prevention approaches that increase protective factors and reverse or reduce risk factors can prevent behavioral and substance use disorders, and the many issues that follow.
Strategic Prevention Framework
The Strategic Prevention Framework, developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is a 5 step planning process that health professionals use to prevent substance abuse in communities. The 5 steps are:
- Assess Needs – What is the problem, and how can I learn more?
- Build Capacity – What do I have to work with?
- Plan – What should I do and how should I do it?
- Implement – How can I put my plan into action?
- Evaluate – Is my plan working?
Along with the 5 step planning process, there are 2 guiding principles of the Strategic Prevention Framework:
- Cultural Competence – the ability to interact effectively with members of a diverse population.
- Sustainability – the process of achieving and maintaining long term results
Behavioral Health Continuum of Care Model
The Behavioral Health Continuum of Care Model is based on the Mental Health Intervention Spectrum first introduced by the Institute of Medicine in 1994. Prevention is an important component of the overall continuum of care. The Prevention Services team takes a comprehensive approach to behavioral and mental health through universal, selected, and indicated strategies.
Universal prevention strategies are broad and designed to reach entire populations. Selected prevention strategies target subgroups of the population that have been determined to be high-risk, while indicated prevention strategies target individuals who are already experiencing early signs of behavioral and/or substance use disorders. (health.wyo.gov)