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The Maine Approach
ELEMENT 4 - Support Groups
TO ESTABLISH SUPPORT GROUPS FOR ALL USING, NON-USING AND/OR AFFECTED
YOUTH AND ADULTS.
After policy and procedures have been implemented and when the climate in the school reflects a
concern and a willingness to assist those asking for help, only then will people begin to seek help.
Support groups must be available for those needing them.
- RECOVERING PERSONS have been through a treatment program, are in
recovery and need a system of support to help them manage the school
re-entry process, cope with stresses and pressures, maintain sobriety, and
continue the ongoing process of emotional, mental, spiritual, physical, and
social growth. Research clearly documents that without an in-school support
system, it is nearly impossible for recovering students to develop and
maintain a healthy, ATOD-free life style.
- AFFECTED OR CONCERNED PERSONS are those who are affected by the ATOD
dependency of a family member and those who are concerned about peers or
friends. Support is needed to help them cope with their feelings of
inadequacy, guilt, fear, and responsibility. Such support is a powerful
contributor to their emotional, mental, spiritual, physical, and social
- NON-USERS AND NON-AFFECTED neither use drugs nor are affected by
another's use yet seek support for their "non-use" position. Despite
efforts to create an understanding of ATOD dependency and a caring
climate, there will be those who have difficulty making decisions about
use. Providing support for these individuals allows them to express their
concerns in a non judgmental setting. Such support provides the opportunity
to interact and gain an increased understanding, acceptance, and support
of their non-using lifestyle choice.
PRESENT INDICATORS FOR STANDARDS OF BEST PRACTICE:
(Rating your understanding from 1 to a high of 5 may help in your planning and
- Administrative support is secured and maintained by procuring school board approval
_____ The creation and implementation of distinct policy before any groups are
_____ The presentation to the board of an annual needs assessment of the need
support groups, the number of students participating, the frequency of
meetings, the duration of involvement, substantiation of positive effects,
and the types of support programs currently in existence.
_____ Assurance that Board awareness includes their understanding of support
functions and confidentiality issues.
_____ Periodic evaluation that correlates support group participation with
improve academic readiness and more healthy lifestyle choices.
_____ The awareness that all school personnel agree that student support groups
are essential for a healthy, positive school climate.
Administrators demonstrate support by:
_____ Providing a chemical health coordinator or substance abuse counselor.
_____ Listing support groups in the course selection syllabus of the school.
_____ Providing compensation for facilitators (if outside of contract).
_____ Describing support services in district policy.
_____ Participating as facilitators of groups.
_____ Promoting the program to teachers and clarifying that support group attendance is
not an excuse for missed classroom assignments.
A variety of support programs exists to meet student needs. These may include but are not limited to:
Social Skills Building
Grief and Loss
12 Step Groups
Developing Study Skills
Others, as needed
Group management strategies include:
_____ Existence of a Student Assistance Team or other process that is in effect for the
identification and referral of students who need support service.
The process of identification and referral, group participation processes, and a
brief explanation of confidentiality are in the student handbook.
_____ Information is given to all school personnel in order that they appreciate their role in
advocating for the process and the nature of support group confidentiality.
_____ Training is provided for those facilitating support groups or serving as peer helpers
_____ Criteria is established for group membership.
_____ Outcomes are established regarding the benefits of group membership.
_____ Group size is not over 10.
_____ Co-facilitation is used.
_____ Time is available for facilitators' processing.
_____ Crisis management plans are developed and utilized when needed.
_____ A working relationship is established with local referral agencies.
_____ Support group evaluation includes input from participants.
_____ There is a clear understanding by all staff that attendance in support groups is not an
excuse for missing classroom obligations.
Revised March 1995.
Maine Office of Substance Abuse
#11 State House Station
A.M.H.I. Complex, Marquardt Building
Augusta, ME 04333-0011
Main Office: 207-287-2595
Information and Resource Center: 1-800-499-0027 (In-State Only)or 207-287-8900
TTY : 1-800-606-0215