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Faculty member at MSU receives $1 million for addiction and suicide prevention

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MSU aims to prevent substance abuse in school children through its community outreach programme.


By U2B Staff 

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A faculty member at Mississippi State University (MSU)’s psychology department received federal grants of $1 million to support programmes designed to prevent alcohol and tobacco addiction in Oktibbeha County, and suicide among college students.

Associate professor of psychology and director of the department’s clinical Ph.D. programme, Michael R. Nadorff received grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The grant awarded under the Drug Free Starkville Collaboration programme, worth $624,385 aims to fight the prevalence of alcohol and tobacco addiction. Whereas a separate grant worth $305,000 was awarded to support suicide prevention efforts at MSU.

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Nadorff said that both grants complement each other due to the correlation between substance abuse and suicidal behaviour. He hopes that this funding will help the university’s efforts in reducing suicide prevalence among adolescents and college students in the future.

The grant for substance abuse prevention will foster a partnership between MSU’s Collegiate Recovery Community and local middle and high schools. This is aimed at protecting school-going students from the dangers of addiction.

Nadorff added that the main goal of this project is to reduce the use of alcohol and tobacco among local middle and high school students as research has shown that substance abuse that begins early in life will increase the odds of addiction to hard drugs in adulthood.

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This programme also aims to provide training to MSU’s students in how to intervene with youth, giving them the opportunity to help educate and mentor local students that will help them make healthier choices.

Nadorff added this new grant will enable him to build upon the existing suicide prevention work in order to create a stronger, comprehensive suicide prevention programme.

This includes the development of a new First Year Experience course, strengthening links between community and campus mental health providers, increasing opportunities for at-risk students to engage in meaningful volunteer activities, and reducing access to suicide means.

Nadorff’s research at MSU include assessment and treatment of suicidal behaviour. His research areas also cover behavioural sleep medicine which looks at the assessment and intervention for insomnia and nightmare disorders, and also the use of technology for psychological treatment.

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Professor and psychology department head of the university, Mitchell Berman said that this collaboration between MSU and the local community uses a harm-reduction strategy. “Nicotine and alcohol use among youth can have significant and life-long health consequences.”

He stated that historically, local mental health professionals have suffered from lack of funds and resources – preventing them from carrying out the changes necessary to remedy the situation.

With this grant, the programme has the potential to help alleviate this critical gap in addiction prevention services to children in the state of Mississippi.