RAAPS Quarterly Newsletter
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We're in Quite a State!

(The States of Maine and North Carolina to be more precise…)

We’re honored to announce that school based health centers across the state of Maine recently implemented the RAAPS adolescent risk screening system  to help identify, and reduce, the primary cause of illness and death in teens: risk behaviors.  In addition, the RAAPS system will be used to gather data on adolescent health risks for the individual centers and at the state level.  This data will be analyzed and used to track outcomes, discover risk trends, and identify and tailor program needs. 

The Maine Division of Population Health helps to support 17 school-based health centers serving youth and young adults ages 10-24.  For more about the Maine SBHCs and their innovative programs, please click here.  

North Carolina also implemented RAAPS across multiple sites – implementing the system at over 17 SBHC’s!  Dr. Stephanie Daniel from The School Health Alliance for Forsyth County, NC recently shared some “lessons learned” from this multi-site roll-out in a RAAPS webinar.  Go to the RAAPS webinar page and scroll down to the webinar from 10/10/2013 “Lessons Learned: Integrating Adolescent Risk Assessment in SBHC’s” to learn more about the North Carolina initiative – or to share the webinar with colleagues.


(We mean Motivational Interviewing, of course…)

Communicating effectively with adolescents to reduce risk behaviors requires a specialized approach. Motivational interviewing (MI) has been studied extensively, and has been proven to be an effective intervention for addressing adolescent risk behaviors, including: decreasing substance use, stress, risky sexual behaviors; facilitating healthy eating behaviors; increasing exercise; and having fewer subsequent injuries and hospitalizations. 

MI is a combination of communication strategies to promote positive behavior change.  The MI “counselor” (which could be a healthcare professional, school staff, parent, etc.) creates an atmosphere of acceptance for the adolescent which is conducive to honest conversations.  This is especially important to adolescent behavior change because:  research has shown that a coercive approach results in resistance, no matter what the goal of behavior change.  MI allows the adolescent to be in the driver’s seat while wrestling with issues and discovering what the barriers are to positive change. 

Learning to use these various techniques in real-world practice requires a hands-on and interactive approachRAAPS offers a variety of MI workshops that support effective adult learning by providing a dynamic and engaging experience for participants. These workshops are designed to help teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers, and other professionals, to use MI strategies to identify risk behaviors, communicate effectively, and motivate adolescents toward positive behavior changes.  Click here to read what RAAPS workshop participants have said about their MI training experience!


We're Feeling So VALIDATED...

You probably know that RAAPS has been validated as a screening tool to identify the behaviors that contribute most to illness and death in adolescents.  The effectiveness of the RAAPS survey in identifying depression was further validated in the November issue of Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing.  View the abstract

Depression is both an independent and contributing risk factor for teens – and the numbers are staggering. RAAPS data from the 2012/13 school year shows that a full quarter (25%) of the adolescent population are sad or depressed.

However, using the evidence-based risk reduction messaging in the RAAPS system, care professionals working with teens have shown a significant improvement in depression among adolescents – reducing depression and anxiety in teens who screened positive by 60%!

We’ve shared a number of stories from care providers using RAAPS – but we thought that this short, but to the point, story illustrated the most common elements we hear from practitioners (including higher incidence of depression at younger ages – and that often the risks identified by RAAPS screening are completely unrelated to the stated purpose of the original appointment).

An 11 year old came in for asthma. We screened using RAAPS and discovered that the child was actually suicidal. We immediately contacted the parent and referred the child to a mental health provider. Outpatient daily treatment was ordered. The youth was picked up from home daily and attended treatment from 9-3. We saved a life!

Upcoming Events

April 4, 2014
2014 Conference on Adolescent Health
Ypsilanti, MI
Click here for details

August 18-20, 2014
International Council of Nurses 8th ICN/APNN Conference
Helsinki, Finland

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