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Positive Youth Development

Promoting Positive Youth Development:  An Investment in the Future

Points of Intervention


Psycho-Social Educational Interventions

Tapping Into Innate Resiliency

Innate in each of us is the capacity to overcome adversity and to succeed in spite of the environmental conditions we find ourselves in.  Prevention and intervention professionals, educators, faith-based group leaders, and community youth/civic group leaders play a vital role in helping children and youth tap into that resiliency and move beyond their unique adversities.  We now know that adverse childhood events (ACEs) and chronic stress affects brain development; associated with mental illness, substance abuse, suicidality, and phyusical illness in adulthood.  Childhood traumas/difficulties potentially explain 32.4 percent of psychiatric disorders in adulthood and are a significant risk factor for substance abuse. [1]

As professionals, we need to understand the role of trauma in people’s lives and its long-term impact on behavioral health disorders.  Trauma-specific support and treatment services are available.  From a prevention standpoint, the number of protective factors within communities need to be increased.  We need to recognize the signs of chronic stress that are evident 2-4 years before mental illness develops.  We need to intervene earlier, consistently and across multiple institutions.

For more information on accessing and using innate resilieincy, see The Resilience Research Center at

For more information on asset development, see The Search Institute at

For more information on the Simple Gifts Initiative, see Paxis Institute:

Building Life, Social, and Emotional Skills

Life skills needed to navigate the circumstances of living include things like:

  • decision-making
  • coping
  • values clarification
  • cognitive restructuring
  • communication
  • conflict resolution
  • stress management
  • self-awareness
  • relationship skills
  • self-management

For more information on Social and Emotional Skills, see CASEL at

For more information of building life skills, see Botvin LifeSkills Training at

Resources for Youth




1 – Pamela Hyde, JD, 2011, Prevention – Future by Design:  Behavioral Health in Action.  SAMHSA 7th Annual Community Prevention Day, National Harbor, MD, February 7, 2011.