United Way awards grants to fund education on substance use disorders

May 1—The United Way of the Wabash Valley and its Substance Use Disorder Impact Council has awarded $24,000 to two area organizations. These grants aim to support creative, innovative ways to increase awareness and knowledge about substance use disorders.

Mental Health America of West Central Indiana, Inc. will receive $15,000 to put toward its "Educating About Substance Use Disorder" program.

This program will deliver evidence-based education to healthcare workers, law enforcement, EMS personnel and K-12 teachers — professionals who potentially interact every day with people struggling with substance use, the United Way said in a news release.

Mental Health America of West Central Indiana looks to reach up to 1,000 professionals in a variety of fields in Clay, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo Counties.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College will receive $9,000 to fund its "Pomeroy Promise: Addressing Substance Use Disorder Education and Stigma at SMWC."

These grant funds will facilitate the purchase of a year-long campus membership to the Higher Education Center for Alcohol Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery, which includes unlimited use of three substance use screening tools (alcohol use, cannabis use, and prescription drug use), educational materials and webinars.

Further programming and an anti-stigma social norms campaign, called Pomeroy Promise, will also be developed to address gaps in education and misinformation about substance use disorders on campus.

More than 1,000 students and over 450 staff will be impacted by the Pomeroy Promise initiative, according to the United Way.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 7 Americans — or more than 20 million people — report experiencing a substance use disorder, and more than 500,000 are Hoosiers.