2022 Center Impacts

During 2022, our staff have been busier than ever. Center efforts were aimed at community engagement, improving school safety, addressing behavioral health concerns such as substance use, preventing targeted violence, preventing suicide, and expanding training opportunities around the state.

A few highlights include:

  • School Safety: The PPC created and manages “Building a Suicide-Safe School Community,” an online course for Nebraska schools. The course is continuing through 2023, resulted in more than 31,000 educators and staff completing the training in school districts throughout Nebraska during the 2020-2021 school year and 6,213 completing the course during the 2021-2022 school year.

  • Suicide Prevention: The Nebraska Department of Education, in collaboration with the PPC, released two updated suicide prevention resource guides and a handbook for developing school suicide policies and procedures as part of the Youth Suicide Prevention Project. A revised Youth, School, and Families Suicide Prevention brochure is being translated in seven languages and shared across the state. A Lethal Means Safety brochure was also created in late 2022 and is currently being translated and shared across the state.

  • Disaster Behavioral Health: The PPC marked 20 years of continuous funding for Disaster Behavioral Health planning and response in partnership with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NE DHHS). The funding has supported activities and trainings in disaster behavioral health and disaster preparedness, such as creation of the statewide Disaster Behavioral Health Response and Recovery Plan, annual statewide disaster behavioral health exercise, and curriculum development and trainings for Nebraska Disaster Psychological First Aid.

  • Substance Use Prevention: The PPC partnered with NE DHHS on a statewide substance abuse prevention campaign. The Choose You video campaign received over 600,000 impressions on YouTube and the digital audio campaign made over one million impressions. This January, more than 130 project partners and representatives from all of Nebraska’s state behavioral health regions convened at a virtual summit. In 2022, five virtual substance use prevention trainings were conducted with 196 unique participants representing 44 agencies/organizations across them.

  • Behavioral Health: Since its start in 2020, the Center has been working closely with NE DHHS providing access to quality behavioral health trainings on topics such as health equity, recovery, ethics, telehealth, and more topics for Nebraska providers. With more than 24 training sessions on record with an average attendance above 130 participants, this collaboration continues with more trainings in the works.

  • Preventing Targeted Violence: The Center received funding from the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) via the State Homeland Security Grant Program to design and deliver a program for clinicians and threat assessment (TA) teams in Nebraska to better understand, detect, and intervene when potential violence motivated by extremism is present. In July of 2022, 10 clinicians and 14 TA Team members attended a Pilot of the training program in Lincoln, Nebraska presented by Dr. Mario Scalora and Dr. Denise Bulling. They trained 23 TA team members and 6 clinicians in December 2022 and have two in-person trainings scheduled for February 2023. Currently, 235 members from 49 Nebraska counties and 8 Educational Service Units are a part of NE K-12 TA teams.

  • School Mental Health: The PPC has been awarded a Mental Health Awareness Training grant from SAMHSA which started December 2022. This four-year grant will capitalize on the position of local schools to meet the mental health needs of Nebraska students in grades K-12, by training educators in the evidence-based intervention of Psychological First Aid for Schools (PFA-S). Over the course of the project 1,250 Nebraska educators will be trained. This project is a partnership between the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, the Nebraska Department of Education, and Nebraska’s Regional Behavioral Health Authorities.

  • Community Engagement: In collaboration with the Lincoln Community Foundation, the PPC released the 2022 Lincoln Vital Signs report in July. This report examines how Lincoln is addressing community needs in building strong neighborhoods, workforce development, early education, and affordable housing, as well as how we align with other cities and outcomes.