Cape Cod Foundation Supports Anti-addiction Program At High School

By: Staff Reports and Contributors

Topics: Monomoy Regional High School , Addiction

Harwich Youth Counselor Sheila House (left) is joined by (from left), Monomoy Principal Jennifer Police, Stephanie Briody of Behavioral Health Innovators, and Brian Scheld, Cheryl Barnes, Rich Cogen and Bonnie Scott of the Harwich Fund. COURTESY PHOTO.

HARWICH Students at Monomoy Regional High School are being offered access to a unique program designed to help them understand and avoid addiction, thanks to a $1,500 grant from the Cape Cod Foundation’s Harwich Fund and Chatham Fund.

To be offered by Behavioral Health Innovators, the program is a one-of-a-kind speaker series that teaches students about the teenage brain and the biology of addiction, the problems of self-medication with substances, and ways to avoid substance use.

“Vulnerable teens with substance use challenges and related mental health conditions are suffering in our communities every day,” program organizer Stephanie Briody said. “They were even more challenged by the isolation imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The series helps students understand substance use, learn why young people start using, and understand how easy it is to get on the ramp to addiction, Briody said. It also spreads the word about the Recovery Build Alternative Peer Group, a partnership with the Duffy Center of Hyannis that offers support to teens who are battling addiction. Offered for free to local teens and families, Recovery Build uses licensed professionals and recovery coaches to groups of teens in recovery, helping them find ways to handle the unique challenges they face, like peer pressure, depression, anxiety, and other stressors common to this age group.

Harwich Youth Counselor Sheila House, president of the board of Behavioral Health Innovators, says that this concept is new to this area and helps teenagers learn to develop a healthy lifestyle in order to maintain

abstinence from substances. It was built on a model of similar peer groups in Texas, which have been very successful.

The speaker series received financial support from the Cape Cod Foundation’s Harwich Fund and Chatham Fund. To date, the Harwich Fund has awarded almost $10,000 to nonprofits serving Harwich residents. To help, visit www.HarwichFund.org or send a tax-deductible contribution payable to The Harwich Fund to The Cape Cod Foundation, 261 Whites Path, Unit 2, South Yarmouth, MA 02664.