A Better High: How to Use Humor, Science, and Effective Communication Strategies to Engage Youth Audiences in Positive Prevention (HHS REGION 1)

This funny, informative and engaging half-day training focuses on communicating with teenagers about sensitive topics such as substance abuse and mental health. Our presenter, Dr. Matt Bellace, has been a youth motivational speaker and comedian since 1995. He’s spoken to audiences in nearly all fifty states and throughout Canada.  His powerful message of pursuing natural highs and other healthy coping mechanisms reaches over one hundred thousand adolescents and adults per year. Matt believes, “It’s not enough to just tell young people what not to do, we need to empower them to create an environment that fosters positive mental and physical health.”


The first training session is a keynote style presentation titled, Using Endorphins Wisely: The Science Behind Laughing, Meditating, Reducing Stress and Managing Your Emotions.  This engaging program will involve stand-up comedy, audience participation and inspiring stories. It is meant to kick off the day with some energy, in addition to demonstrating Matt’s style when presenting to youth.


In the second session, Dr. Bellace relies more on his training as a clinical neuropsychologist to present the science behind the concepts he mentioned in the keynote. The topics covered include the developing brain, social support, communication and screen time, the neuroscience of meditation and other coping skills, substance abuse (e.g. vaping, THC, alcohol) and mental health. This session is intended to be interactive, so feel free to ask questions.


The final session has the potential to be the most fun, since it involves you! In the remaining time, Dr. Bellace will lead a discussion of effective speaking techniques when working with youth. In addition, he will encourage select members of the audience to put together a brief (2-3 minute) presentation about a prevention topic they feel teenagers need to hear.  Dr. Bellace will create a supportive environment to debrief what worked and what could be improved the next time. 



  • Gain a better understanding of the science of natural highs, including endorphins, neuropeptide hormones (e.g. anandamide) and the activities that facilitate their release.
  • Gain a better understanding of the science behind positive social support, meditation positive risk taking and other protective factors that improve mental health and allow teens to be more resilient.
  • Learn about effective communication styles when communicating on sensitive topics.
  • Be empowered to present to small or large groups of young people on the importance of healthy coping skills.
  • Take home several actionable coping skills for yourself and those who you work with, including cognitive reframing, practice meditation, positive self-talk, as well as ways to increase face-to-face social contact and lifestyle activities.
  • Have fun, laugh and leave feeling better than you did when the program started!
Starts: Jul. 27, 2020 9:00 am
Ends: Jul. 27, 2020 12:15 pm
Registration Deadline
July 24, 2020
Event Type
Webinar/Virtual Training
Hosted by
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