Student Assistance Program

Kennett Middle School & Kennett High School

What is the Student Assistance Program?

Vision: The Kennett Student Assistance Program envisions a future where graduates make healthy and informed decisions about their own substance use, allowing their core values and ambitions to drive these choices.

Mission: Contributing to Kennett’s comprehensive system of support, the mission is to: (1) build on the adaptability, resilience, and strengths of students exposed to or abusing substances and (2) spread meaningful education and awareness of substance abuse and associated issues schools-wide, by utilizing a strengths-based approach to empower all members of the school communities (students, staff, families, community partners) to maintain an environment where youth can accomplish their goals.

The New Hampshire Student Assistance Program is funded by the Bureau of Drug & Alcohol Services at no cost to families, and is based on a national model.

What does the SAP Counselor do?

SAP counselors served more than 10,000 kids in 2016, helping youth with various social issues, such as bullying, dating violence, and peer pressure. The program has grown from five schools in 2013 to more than 40 today. Each SAP is different, but all engage in the following activities:

  • Screening and assessment of students for personal and/or family problems resulting from alcohol and other drug misuse, as well as other risk factors.

  • Conducting individual or group meetings with students who are using tobacco, alcohol and/or other drugs, students with family members who have a substance use disorder, and students at high risk.

  • Referring students who require treatment for alcohol, tobacco and/or other drug abuse to appropriate community resources.

  • Implementing & organizing school-wide awareness activities with student participation to influence attitudes about substances, mental health, & other social/emotional topics.

  • Meeting with parents, students and community groups to develop policies and activities aimed at preventing and reducing adolescent alcohol and other substance misuse.

Risk Factors

Students who would benefit the most from the Student Assistance Program are those who are already using substances or are at a higher risk to use substances in the future due to a wide range of risk factors:

• Substance misuse • Hopelessness • Low self-esteem • Loneliness • Social alienation & isolation • Impulsivity • Recklessness • Poor coping skills • Poor body image • Self-injuring • Perception of being a burden • Family history of behavioral health issues • Parental divorce • Interpersonal difficulties or losses • Bullying, either as victim or perpetrator • School or work problems • Physical, sexual, and/or psychological abuse • Chronic physical illness or disability • Failing grades and school performance • Death of parent or other relative • Problems in parent-child relationship

How do students get involved?

Students are referred to the Student Assistance Program by any member of the Kennett community - parents, peers, school staff, coaches, community members, and even students themselves! This is a confidential program and referrals can be made anonymous through the Student Referral Form (see tab).

After a referral is made, the SAP Counselor reaches out to the student directly and sets up a time to meet with them during school hours - never during a test. From there, the student and SAP Counselor will decide collaboratively whether or not the student will benefit from meeting with the SAP Counselor further. If needed, the SAP Counselor will refer the student and their families (if the student wants them included) to other local resources.