Kent State University’s Center for Public Policy and Health in the College of Public Health was recently awarded $600,000 in grant funding by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration to support the Northeast Ohio Mental Health Awareness Training (NEO MHAT). NEO MHAT is a collaborative project with the Educational Service Center of Northeast OhioStark County Educational Service CenterAlcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County; and Stark County Mental Health and Addiction Recovery. The project spans 69 school districts in nine counties in Northeast Ohio, including large cities like Cleveland and Akron. The nine counties are Carroll, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Portage, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas and Wayne. Click here to read more!

Portage MHAT

Through a five-year, $625,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Portage County will partner with Kent State University’s Center for Public Policy and Health in the College of Public Health to improve and support mental health in Portage County. Click here to read more.

More Aware Initiative

Kent State University's College of Public Health received a three-year $306,000 federal grant in 2018 and again in 2021 to be used for suicide prevention and to address other student mental health needs. The Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grant funds the More Aware initiative, a collaboration among the Division Student Affairs, the DeWeese Health Center, and other divisions across the university.

Tri-County Prevention Infrastructure

The College of Public Health at Kent State University received a 5-year, $1.5 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop and implement a real time drug use detection system to inform drug prevention efforts in Portage, Geauga and Lake counties in Ohio. The Northeast Ohio Tri-County Prevention Infrastructure (TCPI) project is a collaboration between Dr. Deric Kenne, Associate Director of the Division of Mental Health and Substance Use in the Center for Public Policy and Health, and his team and Dr. Ruoming Jin and his team in the Department of Computer Science. The system will integrate online social media and offline geospatial data, and will incorporate deep learning, natural language processing, and data mining to create a current and ongoing assessment of substance use in each county. The innovative approach to drug use detection and prevention will not only be able to focus prevention efforts but will assist community agencies in better utilizing often limited resources.

The TCPI project will work to prevent the onset and reduce the progression of alcohol and other drug use in youth ages 9 to 20 in Geauga, Lake, and Portage counties. Through the creation and utilization of an innovative Big Data Analytic (BDA) system, TCPI will be able to provide comprehensive community assessment data and monitor substance use to identify potential areas of need. Over time, it is anticipated that the system will be able to predict substance abuse trends and issues with high accuracy using natural language processing models and machine learning. While substance use monitoring using data from social media and public forums has been demonstrated through academic prototypes, TCPI intends to expand the operational capability of this methodology to better understand community-level substance use behavior and monitor trends in real-time. 

Medina County Aware

Kent State University’s Center for Public Policy and Health partnered with the seven public schools in Medina County and the Medina County Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Board to improve student mental wellness through a three-year grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services. The project called, Medina County Aware (MCA), was led by Dr. Deric Kenne, Associate Professor and Dr. Kim Laurene, Assistant Professor at Kent State University. The main goals of the project were to provide mental health awareness trainings to at least 30% of the teachers, administrators and staff at each school, create resource guides and referral mechanisms, and implement mental health stigma reduction campaigns in each of the seven schools. The grant operated November 2018 to November 2021. 

Project Aware Kent

The purpose of Project AWARE Kent was to increase mental health literacy within the university community. In 2015, Kent State received a three year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through its Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  A needs assessment conducted among students at Kent State University found that 30.9% of students indicated the need for mental health services; however, less than half of those students sought help. Project AWARE Kent was able to offer Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) courses, social marketing and awareness campaigns, and interagency and community partnerships through the development of an Interagency Advisory and Leadership Team (IALT).