When assessing the important health issues facing Michigan and other states, behavioral health problems including substance abuse and mental health issues often get overlooked. A new national project focuses on delivering resources and best practices to local decision makers so they can better understand and assess health concerns in their region.
The project, Community Assessment and Education to Promote Behavioral Health Planning and Education (CAPE), is being led by MSU Extension Specialist and Professor Scott Loveridge, who also serves as the director of the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development.
The project will be able to deliver accurate statistics about the prevalence of substance abuse and other health issues in their region so they can be better prepared to deal with existing and developing issues.
The project is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and facilitated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. As with many NCRCRD projects, this new project features many partners, including 10 land grant universities. Other project team members from MSU Extension include Linda Cronk, Mark Skidmore and MSU faculty Joan Ilardo and Jeffrey W. Dwyer.
By tapping into the resources found at these 10 land grant universities, the team will be able to better understand how local leaders are getting their behavioral health information and local leaders will be provided a toolkit with troves of valuable data and training programs that can better inform their decision making.
The project was recently featured in The Engaged Scholar, an MSU publication that focuses on collaborative partnerships between MSU and external constituents. I encourage everyone to read the story, which has much more information about this ground-breaking program.