ALL Together Now: A Series on ALL Together Coalition's Prevention Efforts in the Upper Valley

People celebrate at Hartford, Vermont's annual block party, sponsored by the Hartford Community Coalition. The block party celebrates community: a protective factor that helps prevent addiction.

Part 3: The Future of Prevention

Mental health issues are on the rise in local youth. “The percentage of young people who feel they belong in their community is not as high as we’d like to see,” says Angie Leduc, community partnership coordinator for the ALL Together Coalition and for the Dartmouth Hitchcock Community Health Substance Misuse Team.

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According to the 2017 New Hampshire Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 27 percent of young people have felt sad or hopeless two weeks in a row (and the VT Youth Risk Behavior Survey for our region is 20 percent). The number has been rising locally and nationally in recent years.  

 Leduc says her team has seen a drop in the perception of the risk of marijuana, which is an expected consequence of legalization in nearby states and medical marijuana. “This could be a precursor to a rise in use, but we haven’t seen that yet,” she says. “We do live in a community that has a lot of protective factors: many healthy activities for youth, a lot of resources that are accessible, several supportive services. If you look at substance misuse of our young people over time, our substance use is actually going down. That’s very encouraging.”

 And one of the most encouraging factors, she says, is when community members get involved.

“Prevention really is everyone’s business,” she says.

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