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Providing resources for behavioral health issues

Employee & Family Resources is a private nonprofit organization, located in Des Moines, that provides prevention, intervention and treatment services to address a variety of behavioral health issues.

A Need for Prevention

In Jasper County, prevention specialists aim to prevent substance abuse through a comprehensive approach of information, education and community-based collaboration. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 43.6 million adults living in the United States struggle with their mental health, 20.2 million adults have a substance use disorder and 7.9 million people have co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders (2014).

EFR understands the significant connection between mental health and substance abuse, and is working to increase knowledge, empower community members, and improve health for all people living in Jasper County.

Making an Impact
in Jasper County

Prevention services in Jasper County are funded through the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Comprehensive Substance Abuse Prevention grant. This allows prevention specialists to provide programs such as Responsible Beverage Server Trainings, Drug-Free Workplace Trainings, and various programming throughout schools.

Since 2010, EFR’s Prevention Team has provided many services throughout Jasper County, including school prevention services in classrooms, presentations and small groups with students. Last year, evidence-based curriculum, LifeSkills, was completed and reached 122 eighth graders. Students in the county also learned about prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and marijuana abuse, creating campaigns to distribute to other students across Jasper County to educate them on the risks of substance use.

More than 100 students in driver’s education classes learned about the risks of drinking and driving, and 98 percent of those students increased their knowledge on the topic. EFR reached 30 athletes, 150 parents and 19 coaches through its Life of an Athlete Program, which aims to increase awareness regarding alcohol, drug use and athletic performance.

Outside of school-based programming, prevention specialists work with event planners and businesses to create new policies on alcohol sales and service. EFR also held several Responsible Beverage Server Trainings for people who sell or serve alcohol, with 88 percent of participants increasing their awareness of alcohol overconsumption.

Additionally, EFR held nine Drug Free Workplace Trainings across the county, reaching 69 participants. This training educates participants about current drug trends, how substance abuse can effect employees and the workplace, signs and symptoms of substance abuse, as well as how to determine if reasonable suspicion exists. Finally, prevention specialists served on many coalitions that focus on substance abuse, mental health and overall health of community members.

Prevention specialists regularly collaborate with schools, the public health department, mental health service providers, law enforcement, health care professionals and all sectors of the community to provide valuable information and supportive services throughout Jasper County.

Save the Date

From 6:30 to 8:45 p.m. on Oct. 4 at the Newton High School Auditorium, the Jasper County Mental Health Collaboration, EFR, and other community organizations, are hosting an event, “What Every Parent Should Know.” Attendees will learn more about substance abuse prevention, the impact of screen-time on families and the warning signs of mental health conditions. All interested community members are encouraged to attend this exciting, informational event.

Hannah McMunn and Hayley Nemmers are prevention specialists at Employee & Family Resources serving Jasper County. For any inquiries, contact Hannah at hmcmunn@efr.org. For more information on opioid prevention, contact Hayley at hnemmers@efr.org.

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