Reducing Opioid Use And Misuse: Mental Health First Aid In Rural Texas Counties (MHFA_RTX)
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Jones and McCance-Katz, 2019 noted that as of 2017, 1 in 4 adults with an Opioid Use Disorder have co-occurring substantial mental illness (SMI). Alarmingly, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2016-17 estimated that over 18 million individuals aged 12 years and above (1.3 million in Texas) were classified as needing but not receiving substance use treatment, while among the 11.2 million adults with SMI, only 7.5 million received mental health treatment. Reasons for not seeking treatment mainly include stigma which in turn contribute to the increasing morbidity and mortality associated with mental illness (Holder, Peterson, Stephens & Crandall, 2018). Rural America has been hard hit by the opioid epidemic with access to only 10 percent of opioid treatment resources (Benson & Aldrich, 2019). MHFA_RTX seeks to address rural disparities by utilizing a multi-level intervention focused on:Raising awareness on opioid use and misuse and related at-risk behaviors in 6 rural Texas Counties.Increasing mental health literacy of adults who interact with rural youth /adults through Mental Health First Aid (MHFA or Youth MHFA) trainingProviding harm reduction strategies and education in the form of opioid overdose reversal administration kitsEducating communities on how to develop broad-based community coalitions to address the complex community specific nature of rural opioid use.The MHFA_RTX project will be evaluated to determine the impact of a scaled up Rural MHFA that includes harm reduction strategies and education on broad-based community coalitions in Texas.