IN Brief

FSSA launches campaign for at-risk youth

By: - November 2, 2022 10:42 am

Indiana agency announces several mental health initiatives. (Getty Images)

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration announced Wednesday it would start a statewide program to support Hoosier youth at-risk for alcohol and substance misuse by building up a stronger sense of self.

The Believe in You campaign will help youth develop mental strength, positive thinking, coping techniques and self-control – areas that increase a youth’s risk for substance misuse. Participating Hoosier youth will receive weekly text messages that provide: verbal and written support, education, polls, questions and links to a video portal.

Videos will focus on topics youth identify as critical to them and their mental wellness, including inspirational stories, helpful information and peer support.

“Mental health challenges in adolescence can often lead to serious negative long-term impacts, especially when substance misuse is factored into the equation,” said Jay Chaudhary, director of the Division of Mental Health and Addiction, in a press release. “DMHA is committed to improving access to quality behavioral health services for children and adolescents across Indiana, but we know that there are significant unmet needs today. We are launching this new program to help fill that gap by giving youth who may be at-risk direct access to mental wellbeing tools.”

Youth can be paired with a sponsor and meet at the end of each four-week challenge period to discuss messaging and takeaways. In exchange, they may be eligible to receive a $10 gift card for their participation but a sponsor is not required for youth to participate in the program.

To opt in to the Believe in You direct message program, text BEYOU to 877.861.6807. FSSA’s Believe in You video portal is available here.

Community leaders wanting to implement this program in their areas for at-risk youth can contact Amber Becker, DMHA Director of Child, Youth, and Family Systems, at [email protected] or 317.232.8908 to sign up for a 30-minute virtual training session.

For immediate support, youth experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis should call 988.

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Whitney Downard
Whitney Downard

A native of upstate New York, Whitney previously covered statehouse politics for CNHI’s nine Indiana papers, focusing on long-term healthcare facilities and local government. Prior to her foray into Indiana politics, she worked as a general assignment reporter for The Meridian Star in Meridian, Mississippi. Whitney is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University (#GoBonnies!), a community theater enthusiast and cat mom.