Role of Community Prevention Funding
The Wyoming Department of Health funds a community prevention grant program through a combined effort of the Substance Abuse Prevention Program, the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, and the Injury and Violence Prevention Program. Each County that receives community prevention funding has a Community Prevention Specialist (CPS) who works with local coalitions to strengthen the prevention efforts in their community. Their focus areas include alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, and suicide prevention.
At both state and local levels, Wyoming employs a data-driven decision-making process. The ultimate goal is to create community-level change across Wyoming. Each CPS is taked with collaborating with their local prevention coalitions and completing a comprehensive needs assessment that addresses all relevant data covering local demographics, socioeconomic conditions, community norms, and other risk/protective factors. The results of this assessment are used to create and implement local strategic plans that focus on policy changes, systems transformation, and mental health information dissemination.
What is Prevention?
measures such as altering risky behaviors (such as tobacco use), banning substances known to be associated with a disease or health condition, limiting the development of problems associated with substance use or abuse, and reducing the risk of developing a behavioral health problem. Prevention efforts help Wyoming avoid the dangers of using alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs as well as prevent suicide and other intentional self-harming behaviors.
The CPG’s approach to prevention is to gather and use data to guide prevention decisions specific to community needs. This means working with diverse community partners to choose culturally appropriate, effective, sustainable, evidence-based strategies according to the needs of the community, and to work with individuals who are passionate and knowledgeable about both their communities and prevention to reduce the risk of suicide, tobacco, alcohol and other drug-related problems throughout Wyoming.
Prevention Vs. Treatment
Prevention is an important part of the behavioral health continuum of care model, a comprehensive approach to behavioral health that recognizes multiple opportunities for addressing behavioral health problems and disorders. Each component presents opportunities for addressing behavioral health problems and for collaborating across sectors. Based on the Mental Health Intervention Spectrum, first introduced in a 1994 Institute of Medicine report, the model includes the following components:
- Promotion – Strategies designed to create environments and conditions that support behavioral health and the ability for individuals to withstand challenges. Promotion strategies also reinforce the entire continuum of behavioral health services.
- Prevention – Delivered prior to the onset of a disorder, these interventions are intended to prevent or reduce the risk of developing a behavioral health problem, such as underage alcohol use.
- Treatment – These services are for people diagnosed with a substance use or other behavioral health disorder.
- Recovery – These services support individuals’ abilities to live productive lives in the community and can often help with abstinence.
The CPG Program works in both the Promotion and Prevention realms.
Risk and Protective Factors
- Protective Factor: a characteristic at the biological, psychological, family, or community (including peers and culture) level that is associated with a lower likelihood of problem outcomes or that reduces the negative impact of a risk factor on problem outcomes. Protective factors might include: belief in a moral order, religion, family, social skills, and community connectedness.
- Risk Factor: a characteristic that is biological, psychological, family, community, or cultural level that precedes and is associated with a higher likelihood of problem outcome. Risk factors might include: academic failure, perceived risk of substance use, rebelliousness, parents attitude favors substance use, family conflict, friends use of substances, and sensation seeking.
Through the Wyoming Prevention Needs Assessment (PNA), the Wyoming Department of Health measures a wide variety of attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions that have been shown to be related to alcohol, tobacco, and drug use along with violent and problem behaviors. Explore the Prevention Needs Assessment by Topic, including both protective factors and risk factors, here.
Each County that receives community prevention funding has a Community Prevention Specialist (CPS) who works with local coalitions to strengthen the prevention efforts in their community.