MORE AWARE AT KENT STATE UNIVERSITY

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, University Health Services, 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

Through a three-year grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Kent State University’s Center for Public Policy and Health will partner with the seven public schools in Medina County and the Medina County Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Board to improve student mental wellness. The project called, Medina County Aware (MCA), will be led by Dr. Deric Kenne, Associate Professor and Dr. Kim Laurene, Research Associate at Kent State University. The main goals of the project are 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. Partner schools in the initiative include, Black River Schools, Brunswick City Schools, Buckeye Local Schools, Cloverleaf Local Schools, Highland Local Schools, Medina City Schools and Wadsworth City Schools.

PROJECT AWARE KENT: INCREASING MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS AMONG STUDENTS, FACULTY, AND STAFF

The purpose of Project AWARE Kent is to increase mental health literacy within the university community. A recent 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. Several activities will lead to accomplishing the purpose of Project AWARE Kent including offering 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).

PROVING OHIO’S PREVENTION SUCCESS: KSU ALCOHOL & DRUG SURVEY

An annual survey of alcohol and other drug use among Kent State University students used to inform drug policy and prevention efforts within the university and surrounding communities.

OPIOID USE & PREGNANCY: A COMMUNITY-BASED PARTICIPATORY RESEARCH MULTI-SITE EXPLORATORY STUDY

A community-based participatory research study to investigate the use of opioid drugs during pregnancy.  The study is a collaboration between the Kent State University College of Public Health and the Ohio Alliance of Recovery Providers and the Ohio Women’s Network.  The study expands on previous research to include two rural and two urban sites in Ohio.  Findings will help better understand a relatively understudied and high-risk population and guide treatment planning and programming.

SPARK

The SPARK (Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids) program provides a kindergarten readiness advantage for families with preschool-age children (three- and four-year-olds). Early Childhood Resource Center collaborates with Kent State University College of Public Health to evaluate SPARK annually.