Collaboration between non-profits Behavioral Health Innovators, Inc., and Duffy Health Center yields award of $315,000 from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to Duffy Health Center for RecoveryBuild Alternative Peer Group program for teens with substance use challenges.
September 10, 2021
Founded in 2016, the non-profit Behavioral Health Innovators (BHI) works to develop solutions to address substance use challenges and related mental health issues in the 24 and under population. https://bhinnov.org Two key operating principles guide their work: (1) collaborate rather than compete with other organizations in the field and (2) co-create solutions with people with lived experience. This grant award is the result of a three-and-a-half-year partnership with Duffy Health Center (Duffy) and, a testament to the amazing young people in recovery with whom we co-created this program.
Duffy Health Center is a regional leader in addressing substance use disorders and helping individuals maintain their recovery. The RecoveryBuild Alternative Peer Group (APG) is one of many substance use disorder programs at Duffy Health Center.
RecoveryBuild Alternative Peer Group is the only program of its kind on Cape Cod. There are no other programs on Cape Cod targeted specifically to teens who are struggling with substance use challenges. APGs offer a safe, nonpunitive space where teens and young adults come together with their peers to build awareness around their substance use and develop coping skills and other tools to create their own pathway to wellness and recovery. Key components of the RecoveryBuild APG model are evidence-based, leveraging the Houston model where APGs have been in existence since the 1970s. 
“This is a HUGE opportunity for our entire Cape Cod community. We ALL need to take action to help teens who are struggling with substance use,” explains Stephanie Briody, Co-founder and CEO of Behavioral Health Innovators. “When teens attend the APG they receive the tools and support necessary to create awareness around their substance use and its impact on their lives. By empowering teens in this way, we provide an opportunity for them to build their own path of well-being.”
The APG pilot program opened in Hyannis in early 2018. Initial funding was provided by The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation. Duffy was on board as a community partner from the outset. Thanks to our collaboration with the PIER Recovery Center in Hyannis, a venue was secured for the program.
RecoveryBuild APG is staffed by a multi-disciplinary integrated team. The team includes a program supervisor, licensed mental health therapist, peer mentor with lived experience, certified recovery coach, and a family therapist to support families. The program is open to teens between 13 and 17 years old with a history of substance use. The team also supports and provides resources to their family members.
Details of the program:
- 6-month treatment program where teens work through a rolling curriculum with their care team.
- Referrals to the program can come from schools, caregivers, health care providers, counselors, and community-based organizations.
- Each teen will have an individualized treatment plan. Teens will have the opportunity to engage with the Licensed Mental Health Therapist (clinician) through individual sessions, group psychoeducation, and group processing to build coping skills. Teens will be supported by a Recovery Coach.
- Peer engagement nights focus on supporting social growth without substance use and are primarily facilitated by the Peer Mentor with the support of the clinician.
- Caregiver Support provided through group sessions with a Licensed Mental Health Clinician.
- Available at no cost to families.
RecoveryBuild APG meets twice weekly, and thanks to this $315,000 grant from the State’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) and the Department of Public Health (DPH), we are expanding services to Pleasant Bay Community Boating facility in Harwich and The Falmouth Recreation Center.
“We are so pleased that the APG program has received recognition by the state and funds to expand services and locations,” said Heidi Nelson, CEO of Duffy Health Center. “Our clinical team is dedicated to supporting our community’s adolescents who are struggling with substance use. We look forward to expanding our reach into Falmouth and Harwich to serve families in need.”
If you are concerned about a teen but don’t know how to get help, contact RecoveryBuild Counselor at 774-487-5227, email: APG@duffyhealthcenter.org, or reach out to the Program Supervisor, Jeremy Wurzburg email@example.com or Stephanie Briody Stephanie@bhinnov.org.
Other resource: BHI’s “Peer Heroes Toolkit” has been developed for schools to use to help teens and parents ‘see’ behavior and attitude that signal a progression towards addiction. https://bhinnov.org/peer-heroes-toolkit/