The Harris Project is a 501 c3 charitable organization

CODA Prevention

the harris project

As part of our mission and vision, the harris project created the CODA (Co-Occurring Disorders Awareness) prevention program, a youth-driven effort to initiate the conversation about COD (Co-Occurring Disorders) and empower our youth to transform the way society perceives and addresses mental health and substance misuse/addiction.

Adolescence is a time of change and challenge. It is also during this time that most mental health disorders arise. In fact, 22% of teens 13-18 have a diagnosable mental health and/or addictive disorders, and 50% of all cases of mental health disorders arise by the age of 14 and 75% by the age of 24 (

What comes first: substance use or mental health challenges? It can happen either way.  Un-diagnosed, untreated mental health disorders can lead to self-medicating, and substance use while the brain is still developing can lead to COD ( While all youth are at potential risk for COD, it is preventable.

CODA encourages youth to recognize where they might fit into the narrative through an understanding of paths to substance misuse/addiction, including: the relationship between mental health/wellness and substance misuse; sports injury/wisdom tooth removal and opioid addiction; as well as brain changes caused by use (your brain isn’t fully developed until your 25) to make empowered decisions. In addition, CODA fosters opportunities for peers to connect, support each other, and be a link to resources. This can increase help seeking behavior and reduce the number of teens who misuse or become addicted to substances.

CODA goals include:

  • Increased awareness and understanding of co-occurring disorders for youth.
  • Increased early intervention for mental health challenges and substance misuse leading to a decline in incidence of youth mental health crises, drug misuse, addiction and overdose.
  • Increased likelihood that those already impacted by co-occurring disorders will seek help and support.
  • Raise a generation without the stigma typically associated with mental health challenges/substance misuse.
  • Encourage youth to positively impact their peers/communities by building connections to each other and being a link to resources.

CODA empowers youth to:

  • Talk about the relationship between mental health/wellness and substance misuse/addiction.
  • Educate school communities about co-occurring disorders through presentations, guest speakers,and panels.
  • Celebrate Co-Occurring Disorders Awareness Weeks (April 1 – 15).
  • Offer Youth Mental Health First Aid training.
  • Collaborate with other organizations and clubs.
  • Advocate for change through meetings with legislators.

Help Change the Conversation & Improve Outcomes for our Youth

the harris project works with school districts, community groups, the health care field, and local businesses to create Co-Occurring Disorder Awareness events. Understanding potential paths to substance misuse/addiction in our youth, and how each of us can provide help, hope, and support, can turn the tide and change outcomes for loved ones, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.

The heart of each event is a 45 – 60 minute presentation that can be tailored to include the goals of the host group. Awareness bracelets, buttons and stickers are included to help spread the message.

These conversations are appropriate for audiences ranging from high school students through health care professionals. Besides knowledge and information, and time for Q & A, each audience is provided with a suggested individual and community action plan.

the harris project is also available to be a part of community & health/wellness events.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER, help us bring “co-occurring disorders: out of the shadows and into the light!”

See our Events page for a list of upcoming and past presentations. To inquire about hosting a presentation, please contact us through our Contact Us page.