ROCKVILLE, MD - Just over 2.8 million young people aged 12-17 (11.8 percent of this population) received treatment or counseling for problems with behavior or emotions in educational settings. Early identification of behavioral health problems can prevent the development of more complicated and costly mental and substance use disorders.
To help prevent aggressive and disruptive behavior among young children, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is awarding $11 million in new grants to 22 school systems over the next five years. This effort is a part of SAMHSA’s strategic initiative on the prevention of substance abuse and mental illness designed to help promote emotional health, as well as prevent and delay the onset of mental illness and substance abuse.
This grant program, Implementing Evidence-Based Prevention Programs in Schools (Prevention Programs in Schools), specifically calls on elementary schools to implement the Good Behavior Game, a classroom behavioral management strategy that has been shown to be successful in children in first and second grade. In the Good Behavior Game, students are divided into teams, and their teachers provide positive reinforcements to inspire good behavior.
“Preventing substance abuse and mental disorders requires multiple and consistent interventions by all systems that touch children and youth,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “The Good Behavior Game can help schools meet the social, emotional, and behavioral health needs of students along with promoting their academic success.”
Research shows that children with behavioral problems, whose teachers used this strategy in the classroom, were much more successful than their counterparts in several areas including improved academic achievement, reduced illicit drug use, and reduced antisocial behaviors.
Each of the 22 grant awardees may receive up to $100,000 per year for up to five years, for a total of $2.2 million annually for all grantees. Actual award amounts may vary, depending on the availability of funds and the performance of the grantees.
The funding was awarded to local educational authorities in economically disadvantaged communities, including tribal communities.