In addition to incorporating evidence-based and best practices, the icanhelp program collects data related to program implementation. The data are used to improve the program, develop supplemental training material and identify gaps or areas in need for specific communities.
For years, icanhelp founders, Michelle Muffett-Lipinski and Barbara Bruhns Frey have been frustrated by the lack of early identification and engagement of youth. After months of developing the icanhelp concept and planning, they launch a 6-week implementation and evaluation of the icanhelp program in seven northeastern Massachusetts schools. The evaluation was funded in part by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Twenty high school personnel participated. Personnel roles were grouped into three categories: Administrators (n=3), Teachers (n=9) and Health Professions (n=8).
The participating icanhelp Representatives were told to only implement components of the program that they were comfortable with and not to initiate activities outside the scope of their profession (e.g., teachers should not try to provide clinical services)
- Attend icanhelp Representative training
- Give an icanhelp presentation to students and other personnel at their schools
- Display icanhelp logos and posters
- Complete weekly evaluation surveys
- Develop an icanhelp Resource Guide for their school
Findings around youth questions and interactions with icanhelp Representatives
- Most youth directed their questions about the program to teachers.
- Youth tended to discuss more personal questions regarding the posters with health professionals.
Key findings related to youth linkages that icanhelp representatives made during the 6-week implementation
- As part of the evaluation, the participating icanhelp Representatives indicated all linkages they made for youth during the 6-week implementation. They also estimate the percent of the linkages specifically related to the icanhelp program.
- Teachers indicated the largest increase in linkages due to icanhelp