WERNERSVILLE, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Caron Treatment Centers, a leading not-for-profit provider of addiction and behavioral healthcare with 60 years in the field, today launched its Peak Performance Leadership Academy to change the culture of student athletics and the attitudes towards substance use among high school students. Ryan Leaf, a former NFL player and recovery advocate, headlined the kick-off event for this innovative program, which trains student-athletes to empower teammates and classmates to make healthy choices. In addition to alcohol and opioids, the program discusses caffeine, steroids, anxiety and ADHD medications, and other substances.
Over the past decade, anxiety has plagued college campuses, making young adult mental health a critical issue. Nearly one in five college students report suffering from anxiety, making it the leading mental health challenge in college students. A central contributing factor to the alarming rise of anxiety is the heightened pressure to perform that starts long before students step on campus– a study published in the Psychological Bulletin examining perfectionism in teens and college age students over the last three decades found that today’s teenagers are experiencing a 33 percent spike in “other-oriented” perfectionism, or the need to be perfect to win approval.
For student-athletes, the added athletic responsibilities mean additional pressure, and many turn to substances to curb the anxiety. In the most comprehensive study in recent years, the NCAA found that while excessive alcohol use is down, student-athletes are engaging in other dangerous substance abuse: a quarter reported using prescription pain medication in the past year, with 6 percent indicating it was without a prescription, and 16 percent reported using ADHD medication, more than half without a prescription.
“The pressure to perform starts at an early age, and tragically, many of the consequences begin to manifest in college,” said Tina George, SAP Coordinator for Caron. “It’s essential to take steps in high school to support meaningful change. The Peak Performance program hopes to arm student leaders with the tools and skills they need to cope with pressure without resorting to mood-altering substances and therefore also act as role-models among their peers.”
Caron’s Peak Performance Leadership Academy falls under the umbrella of its Student Assistance Program (SAP), which provides comprehensive, customizable drug, alcohol, and nicotine prevention services and healthy living programming designed to help students lead successful lives.
Team leaders of each of the 18 high schools in the Berks County Interscholastic Athletic Association (BCIAA) attended today’s Leadership Academy and Substance Abuse Education Program for Team Leaders kick-off event, which was held at Schuylkill Valley High School. Team leaders enjoyed a presentation of the academy’s workshop information by Leaf, who, after injuries cut his professional career short, began his own road to recovery. Today, he focuses on mentoring young athletes, speaking nationwide on perseverance, gratitude, and hope.
Each of the 18 high schools will have access to an All-Berks County, three-part workshop series, including a team workshop facilitated by Caron’s SAP Specialist held in consultation with parents, coaches, and students at the start of each athletic season over the course of 2018/2019 school year. Approximately 500 students will attend the sessions; the curriculum will include: the development of leadership skills, substance abuse information specific to athletes, and instruction on peer-to-peer educational activities for the team leaders to share with their teams.
About Caron Treatment Centers
With 60 years in the field, Caron Treatment Centers operates lifesaving addiction and behavioral healthcare treatment. Caron is headquartered in Wernersville, Pennsylvania, with Ocean Drive and Caron Renaissance located in Palm Beach County, Florida. Caron has Recovery Centers in New England, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., which offer community and recovery support. Caron’s Recovery Centers in Atlanta and New York City also offer pre- and post-treatment services. Caron has the most extensive continuum of care including teens, young adults, mid-life adults, older adults, chronic pain, executives, healthcare and legal professionals and families. Caron’s treatment is customized to meet the needs of individuals and families – with highly trained teams prepared to address co-occurring disorders. Caron offers an innovative approach to ongoing recovery care support for its patients and their families with online peer groups and other resources during the first year of transition following discharge. For more information on Caron, please visit Caron at www.caron.org or follow us on Twitter @CaronTreatment.