Odyssey House Victoria was delighted to attract Federal government funding for the Building Resilience through Advocacy, Counselling and Education (BRACE) program earlier this year.
BRACE is an evidence-based, wrap-around school-based program where skilled Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) clinicians are embedded within secondary schools to provide early intervention, drug education, prosocial skills, counselling and referral for at-risk young people.
The funding is enabling Odyssey House to offer this program to six schools in Melton, a region that has the fastest projected growth rate of all Victorian local government areas and demonstrable needs around health risk behaviours, mental health and inequality.
With a focus on prevention and harm reduction, BRACE builds the resilience and wellbeing of young people by increasing the protective factors that prevent the cumulative harms of youth substance misuse and mental ill-health.
The placement of AOD clinicians within school settings is critical to the program’s success, enabling clinicians to build rapport and trust with students and staff, thereby providing easy access for help-seeking students, and facilitating timely interventions.
The broader school community – families, carers and school staff – also benefit from the program providing specialist AOD support and knowledge and building connections with other community and health services.