#FINDINGHOPE Prevention week for Idaho schools

Posted at 9:50 AM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 11:50:17-04

BOISE, Idaho — Monday is the first day of prevention week; a week intended to bring awareness to mental health and substance use disorders.

For school-aged kids and teens, this time of year would be full of activities and assemblies to spread the message, but things have changed in light of COVID-19. At the Notus School District, they're providing virtual and take-home prevention activities, as everything remains off-campus.

"You take that for granted that piece of seeing your students every day," said Notus Elementary counselor Mary Ihli-Laan.

Their district, though, is prone to access issues, so they have bus routes running tech and food supplies to their families, totaling 165 meals every day. The routes serve another purpose, too.

"The great thing about those routes is that it also serves as a communication piece between all of our staff," said Ilhi-Laan.

This week is prevention week, and those buses will be a way to get prevention education tools to students and their families.

"The Office of Drug Policy and other communities around the state want to give students and parent tools, to they can talk about prevention, they can talk about drugs and alcohol," said administrator Melinda Smyser.

The Office of Drug Policy partners with different districts to get physical activities to kids at every age level. Some are more simple, like painting rocks with positive messages for elementary-ages kids. Others were developed with Boise State to tackle mental health and heavier topics.

"Everybody is on their phone and were trying to do activities that bring back communication with parents," said Smyser.

Mary says at Notus schools, the relationships between faculty and the district families are the basis of why they're going that extra mile to support their families.

"It's so important that those students know that there people that care about them and there are resources there," said Ilhi-Laan.

Tuesday focuses on preventing underage drinking and alcohol misuse. Every day has a different prevention theme. Friday is focused on preventing suicide. If you or anyone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, call the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline at 208-398-4357(HELP).