ACT Missouri’s staff is still reeling with excitement from the prevention momentum that started at this year’s Missouri Substance Use Prevention Conference at the beautiful Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark, MO. The conference scored a perfect 10 on:
- Number of years it has been in existence
- Record breaking attendance of 327 and 26 exhibitors
- Surprising and honoring award winners
- Gaining useful knowledge and skills to apply in communities
- Refreshing instructors on Mental Health First Aid
- Opportunities to network with others in the field
The Pre-Conference kicked off on the morning of November 18th with the Mental Health First Aid Instructor Summit for certified facilitators. Five experts from Missouri Institute of Mental Health lead the course and discussion with 51 MHFA facilitators. At 1:00, Dr. Rodney Wambeam, from the University of Wyoming, took the stage to teach coalition members on “Enhancing Environmental Prevention Efforts in Communities”. This interactive workshop allowed participants to formulate a plan to address population-level changes in substance use patterns.
That evening, participants enjoyed a delicious Italian Feast, “The Hill” at the networking dinner. One of ACT Missouri’s longstanding Board of Director’s, Darrell Moore, unveiled ACT Missouri’s new logo, encouraged coalitions to involve their county’s Prosecuting Attorneys in their prevention efforts, and enjoyed some well-earned bragging rights about his coalition’s 30th anniversary or preventing underage drinking in Greene County.
The conference offered 18 workshops for participants to choose from and two plenary presentations. The topics included marijuana, kratom, vaping, resiliency, coalition building techniques, and general prevention. On Wednesday morning, Dr. Ram Chettiar, a Child Psychiatrist from Mercy Children’s Hospital in Kansas City, presented “FOMO, Insta-Famous, and Trolls: Navigating Mental Health in the Age of Social Media”. It provided the latest statistics and resources regarding the connection of youth mental health and electronic devices. Ellen Nodine, from Florida’s Center for Public Interest Communications, shared some real-life examples and techniques about the science of making people care. The preliminary round of evaluations revealed very complimentary scores to both the presenters and content shared.
The highlight of the conference was the Awards Presentation over lunch on Wednesday, November 20th. ACT Missouri’s Alicia Ozenberger and Amanda Baker from the Division of Behavioral Health honored the following champs and coalitions with a plaque and a signed Senate Resolution:
Champions of Change for Prevention: Linda Shores for her 15+ years of service to Communities Taking Action, and Julia Mees from Excelsior Springs SAFE. Julia’s Prevention Specialist, Laura Bruce, secretly arranged for her husband, daughters, and parents to attend the luncheon and surprise her.
Champions of Change for Prevention
Communities Taking Action
Excelsior Springs SAFE
Coalition of the Year
Caldwell County Cares
The Coalition of the Year was Caldwell County Cares for their efforts in reducing youth alcohol, e-cigarette and marijuana use below the state average.
Milestone in Prevention
Newton County Community Coalition
This year’s Milestone in Prevention Award went to the Newton County Community Coalition for its underage drinking prevention efforts and advocacy.
Attendees were able to earn up to 14 contact hours from the Missouri Credentialing Board, and for the second year, ACT Missouri also offered hours from the NCHEC, the National Health Education Credentialing Board. As of December 2, our conference attendees have clocked over 1100 hours!
ACT Missouri would like to thank the individuals that shared their “Prevention Stories” at the conference. These video clips will be posted on our website’s dedicated page, and everyone is encouraged to submit their personal story here and on their social media sites using #MOPrevention and #MOPreventionStories.
Prevention Happens Here is also the theme for SAMHSA’s 2020 National Prevention Week. It is our hope that Missouri’s community coalitions will continue to sustain and benefit from the impressive momentum that was established at the conference throughout the coming year.