The Partnership at and TeenScreen National Center

Strategic Partnership to Educate Families About Link Between Substance Abuse and

Mental Illness and Broaden Scope of Shared Resources on Teen Health

NEW YORK, NY – February 24, 2011 – the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and TeenScreen National Center for Mental Health Checkups at Columbia University today announced a new strategic collaboration to educate families about the link between substance abuse and adolescent mental illness and to broaden shared resources on teen health. By bringing together information about the need for early identification of mental illness from Columbia University’s TeenScreen National Center, along with comprehensive resources on substance abuse addiction and treatment from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, the non-profits will work together to provide a broader spectrum of help and support for parents of teens.

Research has shown that untreated mental illness is a major risk factor for drug and alcohol abuse. Substance use disorders are associated with up to 6.2 times greater than average risk of suicide attempts, according to data from the National Comorbidity Survey. Adolescence offers an important period for intervention because 50 percent of all lifetime mental health disorders start by age 14, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Most young people with mental illness can be effectively treated and lead productive lives.

“Parents with a child who is abusing drugs or alcohol need to also be especially attuned to co-occurring mental health issues and seek an appropriate assessment,” said Steve Pasierb, President of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “TeenScreen National Center is a leading voice in the early identification of mental illness in youth and, working together, our organizations will reach more parents with resources that help them proactively address crucial health concerns in their families.”

“We are pleased to be working with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, an organization that shares our commitment to youth,” said Laurie Flynn, Executive Director, TeenScreen National Center for Mental Health Checkups at Columbia University. “As we work to engage parents in our mission to support routine mental health checkups for teens, joining with an organization that can help educate parents about the link between mental illness and substance abuse will support these efforts. In turn, we will link their organization to our primary care, school and community audiences.”

the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and the TeenScreen National Center will co-host a webinar this spring for primary care providers, mental health professionals and informed parents, featuring an expert(s) from Columbia University. The nonprofits will also work to engage parents and caregivers through social media channels, and will explore opportunities to integrate content across several web properties to increase parental awareness and access to resources.

Roselena Martinez, Marketing and Communications Manager for the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids added, “This terrific partnership with The TeenScreen National Center strengthens our collective efforts in protecting the health of families. Teen behaviors and parenting co-exist together, not in a vacuum, and by empowering parents with the tools and resources they need to keep them healthy, we provide parents with a more complete understanding of their teen.”

To learn more about the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids’s resources on intervention and treatment please visit Time to Get Help.

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About the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is a nonprofit organization that helps parents prevent, intervene in and find treatment for drug and alcohol use by their children. Bringing together renowned scientists, parent experts, and communications professionals, this public health nonprofit translates current research on parenting, teen behavior, addiction and treatment into easy to understand resources at Through its nationwide PACT360 community education programs, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids educates and mobilizes local community efforts to address drug threats at the grassroots level, including methamphetamine and prescription drug abuse, and also provides parent training and teen programs that help prevent teen substance abuse. the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids depends on donations from individuals, corporations, foundations and government and is thankful to SAG/AFTRA and the advertising and media industries for their ongoing generosity.

About The TeenScreen National Center for Mental Health Checkups at Columbia University

The TeenScreen National Center for Mental Health Checkups at Columbia University is a non-profit public health initiative and national policy and resource center devoted to increasing youth access to regular mental health checkups. The TeenScreen National Center is affiliated with the Columbia University Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The National Center provides free tools for physicians and school professionals and supports screening efforts at more than 1,600 communities in 46 states through its TeenScreen Primary Care and TeenScreen Schools and Communities programs.

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