Phone: (309) 827-0377

Prevention and Education

At Project Oz, we support drug-free communities. Why? Because it’s a healthy, safe, and happy way to live.

"A lot of other programs that teach about drugs and how you should never drink or smoke are super boring, but you are really good at it. I’m glad you were the teacher."

"I thought I would be hearing dull facts I had heard a million times before, but I was pleasantly surprised. I really loved when we did the role play. It was funny!"

To start, here is what we do:

  • We teach evidence-based courses in schools that explain the consequences of drug use as well as skills and strategies for not getting involved with drugs. It begins with critical skills like peer refusal skills, decision-making, goal setting, and managing emotions.
  • We advise the Youth Action Board, a group of motivated teenagers who do things around the community to support drug-free lifestyles. These teens develop prevention messages, assist with Prescription Take-Back Days, lead in-school media campaigns and much more.
  • The coalition supports the Say Yes to No student group which runs a Social Norms campaign at Heyworth High school.
  • We advise the Heyworth Community Partners Coalition about events, media releases, and more that support a community-wide approach to safe and healthy living with a focus on preventing underage drinking. If you live in Heyworth and want to know more about this initiative, call us at 309-827-0377.

The result? More students and their parents are aware that NOT using drugs is the norm. Students report feeling less pressure to drink or use other drugs, and they feel more free to ask tough questions knowing that we’re there to give straight answers.

Parent Tips & Tools

You can make a difference in your child’s life. There are great ways to help them avoid the temptation to get involved with alcohol and other drugs, and you can help your child make safer choices.

  • Communicate calmly and clearly
  • Encourage positive behavior
  • Talk to your child often and be a good listener
  • Negotiate emotional conflicts with your teens and work toward a solution
  • Set Limits calmly and have consequences
  • Supervise your teen to assure they don’t spend too much unsupervised time with their peers
  • Monitor your teen’s whereabouts

The following tools can help you, too.

Ending the Silence: Prevention and Education

What we do:

  • We collaborate with NAMI Livingston/McLean Counties to teach NAMI Ending the Silence, a school-based suicide prevention and mental health education program. Teens learn how to recognize early warning signs of mental illness and suicide, reach out to trusted adults, and locate resources at school in the community.
    The result?
  • More students also feel comfortable talking about mental health and reaching out to ask for help for themselves and their friends.
    Parent Tips and Tools
    You can make a difference….
  • You can also help your child recognize and cope with mental health challenges that may be interfering with their ability to enjoy life.
  • Learn the early warning signs for mental health conditions and suicide
  • Reach out if you think your child might be struggling

Get involved

Share Your Story
We need volunteers who have personal experience with mental illness to participate in NAMI Ending the Silence, our teen suicide prevention and mental health education program. If you live with mental illness or you support someone who lives with mental illness, we want to hear your story! Contact Colleen at [email protected] to join the fight to end suicide and show young people that recovery is possible.

Warning Signs for Mental Illness

  • Feeling sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
  • Severe, out-of-control risk-taking behaviors that could cause harm to oneself or others
  • Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, especially with physical symptoms like a racing heart or fast breathing
  • Significant weight loss or gain, or throwing up, using laxatives, or not eating
  • Seeing, hearing, or believing things that aren’t real
  • Repeated use of drugs or alcohol
  • Drastic changes in mood, behavior, personality, or sleeping habits
  • Extreme difficulty concentrating or staying still that causes danger or difficulty in school
  • Intense worries or fears that impact daily activities
  • Trying or making plans to harm or kill oneself

Warning Signs for Suicide

  • Talking, writing, or drawing about death
  • Feeling hopeless, helpless, or worthless
  • Increased alcohol and drug use
  • Destructive risk-taking
  • Deepening depression or dramatic mood swings
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Aggressive, impulsive, or reckless behavior
  • Social withdrawal from friends and family
  • Visiting or communicating with people to say goodbye
  • Giving away important possessions

Did you know…?

  • Mental illness is treatable and recovery is possible!
  • Most people who receive treatment can live healthy, productive lives
  • 17% of high school students in McLean County reported seriously considering attempting suicide in the last year
  • 1 in 5 teens lives with a diagnosable mental illness
  • 50% of students age 14 and older with a mental illness drop out of high school
  • Half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14
  • The average delay between the start of symptoms and intervention is 10 years
  • Stigma is the primary reason why young people don’t seek treatment
  • Every day, over 5,240 American students in grades 7-12 attempt suicide
  • 4 of 5 people who attempt suicide have displayed clear warning signs
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death for people in Illinois ages 10-14
  • Teen suicide rates have doubled in less than a decade
  • Approximately 90% of people who die by suicide experienced an underlying mental illness
  • Warning signs typically appear about 2-4 years before a mental health condition becomes serious

Resources for alcohol and drug prevention

Alcohol’s Effect on the Developing Adolescent Brain

A Parents’ Guide to Raising Drug-Free Teens

Family Checkup: Positive Parenting Prevents Drug Abuse

Drug Facts:  Heroin & More