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Early Intervention/Prevention

As rural communities consider implementing mental health programs, it is essential to consider prevention and early intervention strategies. In doing so, communities should consider the entire continuum of care, from community health promotion to offering treatment and recovery programs. Fostering health promotion and prevention of mental health conditions involves creating safe and supportive communities where people have the opportunity to live full, healthy lives. It also involves reducing risk factors, such as access to illicit substances, poverty, homelessness, unemployment, and suicide. Timely and effective treatment of serious mental illness involves early detection and intervention to treat symptoms before they become unmanageable.

Prevention and early intervention can be difficult with limited resources, making it necessary for rural communities to consider these factors early on in program implementation. Incorporating some of the elements discussed earlier in this module can be an effective means to implementing early intervention strategies such as, community partnerships, minimizing mental health stigma, cultural competence, and other strategies.

Resources to Learn More

Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness
Website
Describes methods for preventing mental illness and substance abuse.
Organization(s): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration