The Student Assistance Program of Vermont is modeled after the Employee Assistance Program developed during the war to assist employees in dealing with whatever mental heath issue is surfacing in one’s life. In the late 80’s Ellen Morehouse developed the SAP, which VT adopted. In fact our first conference had Morehouse train counselors in her model. The first SAP’s worked part time in area high schools reaching out to high risk students. As time progressed the program became much more uniformed.
The basic tenets of the program is hiring a substance abuse counselor who is available to all students, without a diagnosis, to guide them in whatever their mental health issues are. SAP’s provide prevention education to classrooms, facilitate groups, offer staff and parent trainings, and work with administrators in developing and updating policies. SAP’s do not provide treatment, rather they screen, assess and offer resources.