Anoka-Hennepin District Partners with Hazelden Betty Ford – Medical Alley Association

Anoka-Hennepin District Partners with Hazelden Betty Ford

New substance use prevention, screening and support services to help students, families in Minnesota’s largest school district

CENTER CITY (Dec. 1, 2020) – Minnesota’s largest school district and the nation’s leading addiction and mental health treatment provider today announced a unique collaboration that will help high school students with issues related to mental health, substance use and addiction.

The Anoka-Hennepin school district is teaming up with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation to provide screenings and assessments, referrals to care, and support services to students throughout the district, as well as education and prevention services to students, staff and families.

Under the agreement, Hazelden Betty Ford will assign a licensed clinical professional to conduct school-based screenings and assessments of high school students who may be experiencing issues related to substance use and mental health. The Hazelden Betty Ford professional also will make appropriate referrals to care and community resources, and connect with families and school professionals to aid in their support of the students. Additionally, Hazelden Betty Ford will make its many education and prevention resources available to the school district.

“Anoka-Hennepin understands that a coordinated approach to supporting mental health and substance use concerns for students provides the best results—and having Hazelden Betty Ford as a partner provides a level of support and expertise to make a real difference for our school community,” said Colleen O’Neil, a chemical health prevention specialist with the Anoka-Hennepin School District. “Ensuring students and families have the resources and support they need is essential to removing any barriers to educational success.”

COVID-19 and social issues are contributing to increased substance use, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues nationally, including among students. The stress of remote schooling and the reduced structure outside of class time adds to the risk factors facing youth and their families, said Cindy Doth, outreach manager for Minnesota-headquartered Hazelden Betty Ford, the nation’s largest nonprofit provider of addiction treatment, co-occurring mental health care, recovery resources and related prevention and education services. Much of the Anoka-Hennepin School District recently returned to full-time remote learning due to an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases.

“We have found that many students benefit from formal, licensed, professional screening and referral processes, and that large districts like Anoka-Hennepin—where the counseling staff has so many students to serve—benefit from the additional help,” says Cindy Doth, an outreach manager at Hazelden Betty Ford. “Together, using virtual platforms, we’ll be able to connect with more students and families and provide the information, hope, healing and resources they need in this difficult time.”

About the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is a force of healing and hope for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs. As the nation’s leading nonprofit provider of comprehensive inpatient and outpatient treatment for adults and youth, the Foundation has 17 locations nationwide and collaborates with an expansive network throughout health care. With a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center, the Foundation today also encompasses a graduate school of addiction studies, a publishing division, an addiction research center, recovery advocacy and thought leadership, professional and medical education programs, school-based prevention resources and a specialized program for children who grow up in families with addiction. Learn more at and on Twitter.

Keep your finger on the pulse of Medical Alley from anywhere with the ALLEY NEWSLETTER