Jan Trudo, LICSW, M.Ed., a Child, Adolescent and Family Services Therapist from Greater Nashua Mental Health presented at the March meeting of the Substance Use Disorder Collaborative. Jan’s focus at Greater Nashua Mental Health (GNMH) for the last 18 months or so has been working to put together a new adolescent and young adult Substance Use Disorder Treatment Program. This collaborative project came about as a result of funds from SAMHSA administered through the New Hampshire Bureau of Children’s Mental Health. The overall initiative within New Hampshire is called Creating Connections New Hampshire.
As part of GNMH’s Creating Connections NH Program, Jan and the team have implemented The Seven Challenges® program. The Seven Challenges® is a harm-reduction modality tailored to people ages 12 to 25 with substance use or co-occurring disorders. This model holds out a greater promise of success with young people than traditional approaches, which have produced high drop-out rates and disappointing outcomes. This evidence-based, developmentally appropriate program engages young people without dictating to them and addresses co-occurring mental health challenges which are often connected to the person’s drinking or substance misuse. The Seven Challenges is a culturally-sensitive treatment model which motivates young people to evaluate their lives, consider changes they may wish to make, and help them succeed in implementing those changes. It empowers youth and young adults to take control of their own lives by learning and developing self-efficacy and life skills.
Jan says, “At present, we are doing Outpatient services and are working very hard to get an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) started very soon. We currently offer individual therapy with a licensed therapist or master’s level counselor, as well as weekly group meetings. Family therapy is also included and is an important element of the Seven Challenges modality. Our youth have said that the youth group has been the highlight of their participation.”
Greater Nashua Mental Health partners with Revive Recovery to provide a Peer Support Specialist, a person with lived experience and several years in recovery, to the program. This person sits in with the group and provides information and community resources to the youth because the young participants are often in the early stages of change and have a hard time envisioning life without alcohol or other substances. Having a person with lived experience is a key element to the project’s success.
The Greater Nashua Mental Health project has served over 40 young people so far. Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) is also available for both adolescents and young adults. All therapeutic services, including MAT, are generally covered by the person’s health insurance plan. However, lack of insurance should not prevent anyone from contacting GNMH for services through the Creating Connections NH/Seven Challenges program.
Because parents, caregivers, and family members are often affected by a person’s substance misuse, GNMH started a parent support group when the program first began. Jan says, “It’s really important to support and give parents and family members information and to increase their knowledge because they may not understand what is happening with their loved one. It’s important to bring them together and let them know they’re not alone.”
If you know of anyone living in Nashua or the Greater Nashua area, who might be interested in services, please reach out to Jan Trudo at 603-889-6147, ext. 3253. To contact Greater Nashua Mental Health, please call the following numbers:
Main Phone – (603) 889-6147
24/7 Emergency Line – (800) 762-8191
To speak with an Interpreter:
Main Phone – (844) 245-4458
24/7 Emergency Line – (844) 245-4545
Greater Nashua Mental Health serves Southern Hillsborough County, including Amherst, Brookline, Hollis, Hudson, Litchfield, Mason, Merrimack, Milford, Mont Vernon and the city of Nashua.