Behavioral Health Innovators Inc. (BHI) is the recipient of a $101,000 grant from the New York-based Peter & Elizabeth Tower Foundation in support of the Chatham organization’s new Cape Cod PASS Program.
BHI will debut the PASS program with a few Barnstable County high schools beginning January 2022, with the intention to expand the program across Cape Cod.
The PASS program is designed to address the need for an alternative to school suspension, and a solution to assess, intervene, and connect to services for the Cape’s youth who suffer from mental health and/or substance use disorder.
The problem behavior that leads to suspension can indicate an underlying issue, says BHI co-founder and CEO Stephanie Briody.
“The PASS program gives school staff the opportunity to offer a student an alternative to suspension, and provides an intense, individualized social/emotional learning experience that will greatly benefit the student,” says Briody. “We are adapting a successful model from the North Shore of Massachusetts to the needs of Cape Cod schools, and we are grateful for the support of the Tower Foundation.”
BHI’s PASS program provides a restorative discipline alternative while also assessing students for mental health and substance use issues and offering solutions. Rather than a potentially harmful and unproductive punishment, school districts will have an option for students that gives them a way forward. Provided with assessment from a licensed counselor, substance use and mental health education, counseling on healthy coping skills and techniques, and referrals to needed services, these students can return to the classroom and find success.
“If we can get ahead of the substance use and/or mental health issues that our community’s teens struggle with more and more, we will open up a future of wellness, health, resilience, and productivity for a generation of young people,” says Briody.