PASS Cape Cod

Positive Alternative to School Suspension


Expanding access to treatment and recovery support for young people continues to drive our efforts at Behavioral Health Innovators (BHI).

Building off recommendations from a Community Partnership Committee that BHI convened in 2019, BHI received a grant from The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation to pilot a Positive Alternative to School Suspension (PASS) program with Barnstable County schools.

We opened the Cape Cod PASS program at the Centerville Recreation Building in Barnstable and began accepting referrals from Barnstable High School in May 2022. Today, we welcome referrals from high schools Cape wide including: Barnstable, Dennis-Yarmouth, Harwich Tech, Sturgis East & West and Falmouth.

The Cape Cod PASS Program is inspired by the PASS program on the Northshore. It is an effective early-intervention model and acts as a lever for referral to services that address the mounting adolescent substance use and mental health crisis.

Path to beach

The data from the Northshore PASS Program is illustrative of why we created this brief intervention for teens on Cape Cod.

In 2018-19, 200 students from 10 school districts on the Northshore attended a PASS program in Beverly, MA. Of those 200 students, 88% were found to have two or more mental health conditions or substance use disorders for which they were assessed, and sadly only 27% of these students had previously received services for these issues.

Of the 200 attendees:

    • 67% had a substance use concern
    • 69% had a mental health concern including: 38% anxiety, 58% depression, and a shocking 81% reported an adverse childhood experience (i.e., trauma)

In post-program surveys:

    • 92% of participating students thought the PASS program was a positive experience.
    • 97% said they would attend again
    • 93% said the program helped them to complete schoolwork