I am pleased to share the news that over the past several days we have been notified that Youth Health Connection is receiving several awards and grants.

In a State House ceremony on February 14, YHC will receive a State Leadership Award for Suicide Prevention given by the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention.  Originally founded as the Adolescent Suicide Prevention Project in 1994, YHC has broadened its mission but has at its core, risk prevention and resiliency building in youth.  The award recognizes the work of many people who over the years have collaborated to develop a comprehensive program to address this critical issue.

Secondly, the YHC peer training program, “How Not To Keep A Secret”, has been approved for listing in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Best Practice Registry.  This recognition comes following a thorough and demanding peer review process. This recognition will give HNTKAS national visibility and will enable communities across the country to adopt the program in their schools.

On the funding side, YHC has received two grants.  The first is a Department of Public Health grant to expand our peer training opportunities.  Schools interested in participating in these spring programs should contact Kim Noble as soon as possible.

In addition, YHC and HNTKAS have been given a grant from the McDonough Foundation to develop an “add on” module to the core peer training program.  This spring’s one day training pilot will engage participants in leadership activities, as well as education on “The Development of the Adolescent Brain”, impact of alcohol and drugs, and creative problem solving.  The goal is the development of a peer-to-peer model for reduction of alcohol and drug use.  A prerequisite for participation in the pilot will be prior participation in the core HNTKAS training program.

YHC continues to evolve and make contributions to South Shore communities and beyond.  It has been my great privilege to serve as Medical Director of YHC for the past 18 years.  The support of the South Shore Hospital administration, Kim Noble, Karin Farrell and the rest of the staff has been unwavering.  The McDonough Foundation and others provide critical financial support.  But most importantly, the work of YHC continues to be advanced as the result of a true collaborative effort among mental health professionals, educators, school nurses, law enforcement, clergy, parents and the teens themselves.

Bravo, congratulations and THANK YOU!