decision-making skills

I think CAST is great because it’s really helping me make good choices, and I know I can get support from the other people in group if I need help!


CAST Member, Hannibal, MO

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CAST Program

The CAST Program Goals:

  • Improved Moods
  • Decreased Drug Use
  • Improved School Smarts

The CAST Curriculum:

  1. Welcome & Orientation
  2. Group Support & Self-Esteem
  3. Setting & Monitoring Goals
  4. Building Self-Esteem, Beating the Blues
  5. Decision Making – Taking STEPS
  6. Anger Management #1
  7. Anger Management #2
  8. Drug Use Control – Making Healthy Decisions
  9. School Smarts
  10. Preventing Slips & Relapses
  11. Recognizing Progress & Staying on Track
  12. Celebrating Graduation

CAST (Coping And Support Training) consists of twelve, 55-minute sessions facilitated by an adult who works well with at-risk youth and who is trained to implement the CAST program. The 12 CAST sessions are usually offered twice per week in a (middle or high) school setting as a pull-out program, or outside of the school setting by youth-oriented agencies, mental health professionals, and community centers.

CAST Participants:
The CAST Group is comprised of 6 – 8 students, who are INVITED to participate. CAST can be offered to an entire population (as “universal” prevention), to a high-risk group (“selective” prevention), or to specific at-risk students (“indicated” prevention).

CAST is an evidenced-based program:
In NIH-funded studies, relative to controls, CAST youth evidenced significant and sustained changes:

  • 65% reduction in suicide risk behaviors
  • 34% reduction (for females) and 27% reduction (for males) in anxiety
  • 44% reduction in depression
  • 62% reduction in hard drug use
  • 16% reduction in alcohol use
  • 24% increase in problem-solving coping
  • 24% increase in personal control
  • 27% increase in family support

See Research for more details.

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