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Crossing the River

Upstream Prevention

Upstream prevention or “moving upstream” means preventing negative outcomes long before they occur rather than reacting or responding to an issue that has become severe. For youth mental health that means creating and sustaining community conditions that support young people and their families rather than relying solely on mental health providers or other emergency responders.

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Everyone has a role to play in building the best possible communities for young people. Parents, extended family members, teachers, coaches, youth development professionals, faith leaders,  members of the business community…all of us can contribute.

We wholeheartedly support those who support youth with mental health treatment and services, but we know an all hands on deck approach is needed to truly change the youth mental health landscape in Idaho . That’s why the Communities for Youth process empowers whole communities to move their prevention efforts upstream.


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Benefits of the Upstream Prevention Approach


Creates conditions for youth that bolster positive experiences and limit negative experiences or harm experienced by young people so that poor outcomes are less likely to occur.


Empowers parents, schools, and many individuals, groups, and organizations within a community to take effective action.


Positively affects all young people in a community rather than one young person or a small group of them.


Gets us “ahead of the problem” alleviating pressure on the mental health system and emergency responders.


Featured Resources

Our approach is based on the very successful Icelandic Prevention Approach.

To learn more check out this video link from St. Luke's Community Health.

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