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St. Louis ReCAST: Addressing Youth Engagement, Mental Health in Trauma-Impacted Communities

Posted By Louise Probst, Thursday, April 6, 2017
More Americans are dying prematurely, notably among our younger generations. So says the 2017 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, just released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Unsurprisingly, the opioid epidemic was a leading cause of premature death among people ages 15-44 in 2015. But for young people ages 15-24, the picture is somewhat different. This cohort lost more lives to other types of injury death, most commonly motor vehicle crashes and firearms. Suicides and homicides are on the uptick.
The report points to fostering youth engagement in communities as an antidote for this malady. To assist, the BHC is pleased to join the coalition of stakeholders supporting St. Louis ReCAST, a project launched to promote well-being and resiliency among high-risk youth and families in a federally designated "Promise Zone" encompassing North City and much of North County. Led by the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, St. Louis City Department of Health, and St. Louis Mental Health Board, ReCAST is leveraging a $4.7 million 5-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Project goals include improving access to trauma-informed behavioral health services and peer-to-peer youth support and violence prevention programs. Residents in the target communities, including youth, will serve as delegates in a participatory budgeting process that gives them a major say in how and where funds get spent.
Want to get involved in ReCAST? There are a variety of ways that BHC members and other partners can help out in the coming months, from donating raffle items for a Participatory Budgeting Kick-Off on April 22nd to serving as subject matter experts during the request for proposal process. If you would like more information, please contact Michelle C. Mitchell, Community Engagement Coordinator, at

Warm regards,
Louise Probst
BHC Executive Director

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