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SAMHSA News - Volume XI, Number 4, 2003

An End to Bullying: SAMHSA Expands 15+ Program

Parents who spend 15 minutes or more a day with their children can have a positive effect on their children's behavior and the family as a unit. This evidence-based knowledge is the core principle of SAMHSA's bullying prevention campaign, 15+ Make Time to Listen, Take Time to Talk . . . About Bullying, to be launched in 2004.

Created to address the widespread problem of bullying among America's youth, the campaign will have three main goals, to raise public awareness of bullying, recommend a call to action, and create opportunities to handle and prevent bullying behavior.

The campaign expands the first in a series of campaigns called, 15+ Make Time to Listen, Take Time to Talk, launched in fall 2000.

Louise Peloquin, Ph.D., of the Special Programs Development Branch within SAMHSA's Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) explains, "15+ is our brand, with the idea that every few years we add something to it."

The first campaign supports the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative, a grant program created to respond to youth violence in schools. Supported by SAMHSA within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education, this campaign provides parents and caregivers with practical guidelines for improving communication with their children and promoting healthy behaviors.

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Covers of Bullying is NOT a Fact of Life: A Guide for Parents/Teachers, 15+ Make Time to Listen Take Time to Talk About Bullying, and conversation starter cardsThree Core Products

SAMHSA's bullying prevention campaign includes three core products for parents and caregivers:

  • 15+ Make Time to Listen, Take Time to Talk . . . About Bullying is an easy-to-read brochure that helps parents understand the range of feelings children may experience about bullying and bullying prevention and provides guidelines for listening and talking to children appropriately.
  • Bullying is NOT a Fact of Life: A Guide for Parents/Teachers provides greater insight into how parents, teachers, or school personnel can target their conversations about bullying.
  • Conversation starter cards promote behaviors that protect against bullying or the potential for becoming a bully. In playing card format, these cards provide specific questions about bullying that a parent or teacher can discuss with children or youth.

Related products from other organizations within HHS will be added when appropriate. In addition, SAMHSA has planned four public service announcements with local ABC affiliate ABC-7 (WJLA-TV) to be aired during the school year. Parents and other adults are the primary target audience. All public service announcements will include a toll-free number for callers to request copies of print materials.

15+ Make Time to Listen Take Time to Talk About Bullying logoAll campaign products will be available on the Internet in an easily downloadable format. Internet users will have the option to customize products by printing local contact information on the flipside. SAMHSA's campaign will begin as a 6- to 9-month pilot in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area and later will be extended throughout the United States.

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Additional Bullying Prevention Activities

As an additional bullying prevention activity, SAMHSA is collaborating with Norwegian researcher Dan Olweus, Ph.D., and his American colleagues, who will provide training in the Olweus Bullying Prevention Model. This scientifically developed model is the basis for SAMHSA's campaign. SAMHSA is also collaborating with the Health Resources and Services Administration on its national bullying prevention campaign, which is targeted to children age 9 to 13.

For more information on SAMHSA's bullying prevention campaign, contact SAMHSA's National Mental Health Information Center at P.O. Box 42490, Washington, DC 20015. Telephone: 1 (800) 789-2647 or 1 (866) 889-2647 (TTY). For program information, contact Louise Peloquin, Ph.D., of the CMHS Special Programs Development Branch by e-mail at or by telephone at (301) 443-7790. End of Article

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Inside This Issue

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    SAMHSA News

    SAMHSA News - Volume XI, Number 4, 2003

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