The David A. Imler initiative strives to educate Hillsboro area youth on the preventable causes of suicide by implementing youth mental health. The initiative aims to ensure every child and young adult understand they are never truly alone.
The mission of the David A. Imler initiative is to identify mental health needs within a community before implementing programs to provide resources for those needs. It all starts with research to ensure each program directly addresses community concerns and needs.
The initiative focuses on integrating Positive Youth Development programs designed to optimize youth developmental progress by engaging youth in program implementation, teaching them to navigate adolescence and adulthood in healthy ways and form positive relationships.
The David A. Imler initiative utilizes programs, such as Sources of Strength and the Blues Program to address mental health needs by retraining our brains to focus on positivity and reshape how we talk about our experiences while focusing on recovery and strength. The initiative focuses on integrating Positive Youth Development programs designed to optimize youth developmental progress by engaging youth in program implementation, teaching them to navigate adolescence and adulthood in healthy ways and form positive relationships. The David A. Imler initiative creates connections between students and teachers to extend a sense of community, belonging, and mentorship among area youth and adults.
The David A. Imler initiative begins with research conducted by the Southern Illinois School of Medicine Department of Population Science and Policy. “By starting with research, we eliminate the guessing game. Once we identify the most needed topics, we can promote specialized programming to directly address those needs”, says Rex Brown, President of Hillsboro Area Hospital. Once the community-based research has been gathered and analyzed, team members identify the youth risk and protective factors which guide programming decisions to help address the identified needs. Initiative leaders and volunteers then implement that programming through area schools, clubs, and other social areas.
In coordination with the Hillsboro Area Schools, this initiative utilizes the Sources of Strength and The Blues Program guidelines to increase help-seeking behaviors. One primary goal of the initiative is to increase the interactions between peers and caring adults to ensure our youth recognize the caring support system behind them. Students and peers are encouraged to rely on each other to help break away from unhealthy norms, bullying, and substance abuse. By creating a sense of community, children and teens are more likely to reach out to receive the support they need when they need it most.
The Sources of Strength program works to increase Peer Leadership, encourage peer-to-peer interactions, and help youth identify when adult intervention is necessary to help reduce the risk of suicide. By allowing area youth to rely on each other, the Sources of Strength program builds a sense of community and support while teaching youth valuable coping skills.
The David A. Imler initiative is currently available for students at Hillsboro Area High School. We are excited to announce the Sources of Strength Program extension to Hillsboro Junior High School for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year.
While the Sources of Strength program is available at the local Hillsboro Area Schools, the initiative hopes to expand its presence to other area schools. Changing the way youth respond to social situations, cope with pressure, and treat others is life-changing. The David A. Imler initiative gives communities the tools they need to make an impact not only in their own lives but in the lives of their fellow students and community members.
As the David A. Imler initiative continues to grow and evolve, support from community members will be critical. There are many ways to join the conversation:
If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or dial 911 in case of emergency.
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