Creating Safer and Healthier Communities: Exploring Community-Based Interventions and Prevention

Community Beyond Violence

Community Beyond Violence is a non-profit organization that provides emergency services, counseling, safe homes, legal assistance, referral support, and more. The organization serves the community of Western Nevada County.

Many communities have worked to expand coordination efforts beyond justice agencies. However, limited information is available on these efforts and their impacts.

Community Wellness Program

Park and recreation professionals are well-suited to serve as stewards of Community Wellness Hubs, connecting communities with programs and spaces that advance health equity, improve individual and community-level health outcomes and enhance quality of life. This can be done in a variety of ways.

Reach out to local public health officials, who are often willing partners. Partner with businesses that can provide industry expertise, employee volunteer hours and philanthropic giving. NRPA’s resource, Parks, Recreation and Healthcare: Partnerships to Advance Community Wellness, provides a framework for this type of collaboration.

Focus on implementing systems change approaches that address power structures, policies, social norms, relationships and environments (physical and social) that create barriers to health for Black, Indigenous, people of color and low-income communities. The result is healthier, more resilient communities.

Community Intervention Specialists

Community intervention specialists help clients deal with crisis situations and provide support, assistance and community referrals. Services can be requested via telephone, walk-in or mobile crisis teams. Individuals are referred by family, friends, health care professionals and police.

CHWPs use their own lived experience as a model for healing and offer support around systems navigation, connecting individuals to natural supports and providing trauma-informed counseling using Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). They also help participants express feelings of grief or desire for justice in non-violent ways, helping to prevent retaliation and break cycles of violence.

DIS are key public health professionals who work tirelessly to stop the spread of STDs and other infectious diseases. They provide community outreach and counseling, conduct disease investigation interviews, STI screenings and exposure notifications. They are also trained in syphilis and tuberculosis diagnosis, treatment and infection control. They are the link between the public health system and the community.

Community-Based Interventions

Community-based interventions focus on changing the broader conditions in which people live. These conditions can include environmental factors, such as economic development, or social and psychological factors, such as crime and violence.

This type of intervention can have positive effects on a number of community problems, including the consumption of illicit drugs. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the program has to be a good fit for the community. If it’s not, it won’t work as well.

This includes addressing the underlying causes of the problem, such as providing access to cheaper and legal pain control options for drug users. It also involves collaborating with the justice system to change the institutional factors that increase vulnerability to recidivism. Lastly, it requires making sure that community members are involved in the program and feel empowered. For example, the Communities That Care program has been shown to reduce substance abuse, depression and delinquency among youth in targeted neighborhoods.

Community-Based Prevention

Community-based prevention involves local residents, community organizations, and other stakeholders in the planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of community-directed social change programs and policies. This approach integrates community organization principles and practices, behavioral theories, and marketing into a synergistic framework for directing change.

In addition to reducing individual and community risk factors for violence, these programs can have substantial indirect benefits. These include lowering costs associated with health, crime, and other negative outcomes (e.g., incarceration rates).

To ensure that the value of these programs is recognized by policy makers and funders, the committee developed a framework for valuing community-based interventions. Traditional approaches tend to focus solely on health impacts, to value interventions in isolation, and to overlook community processes. The committee believes that a more holistic approach to evaluating value can better capture the full range of potential benefits and harms. The framework also emphasizes the importance of involving communities in identifying and assessing their own needs.

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