Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $447,174)
In Portland, Maine, 30.6% of high school students believe bullying is a problem. Bullies are more likely to abuse substances and commit illegal offenses; and, while schools are addressing the issue, there are serious gaps in public awareness, parent education, and mental health interventions. Under the Project Safe and Strong Initiative, the Community Counseling Center will be taking the lead through their clinical expertise and community contacts to develop and implement a bullying and harassment education and intervention program that will complement existing community efforts and address current unmet needs. Project Safe and Strong will enact a continuum of education and intervention strategies. After completing a thorough needs assessment, the Community Counseling Center will conduct a public awareness campaign focused both on the general population and on the unique needs of refugee/immigrant youth and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning youth. The Community Counseling Center will train teachers in mental health and substance abuse symptom identification and referral; provide treatment to victims, bullies, their parents; build capacity amongst refugee/immigrant and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning youth; and research interventions for youth engaged in a range of offenses. The Community Counseling Center will support these endeavors through improvements to its Electronic Consumer Records system. Evaluation staff will serve in a support and consulting role to assist program staff in tasks such as completing a needs assessment of currently available bullying/harassment programming, identifying gaps in related community services for youth and families, identifying performance outcomes, as well as an inquiry regarding the viability of Multi-Systemic Therapy as an appropriate youth intervention in the Portland community.