Addressing alcohol and drug-related issues: Reducing harm and supporting positive change.


Addressing alcohol and drug-related issues: Reducing harm and supporting positive change.

The Steps to Cope Partnership between ASCERT, Barnardo’s NI, South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust and AFINet UK is pleased to announce the availability of two key resources in Northern Ireland to help support young people affected by parental alcohol, drug use or mental health problems.

Understanding and Responding to Hidden Harm: A Guide for Educational Professionals” is a guide for school staff which enhances knowledge and skills in identifying and responding to pupils living with these adversities. It explores the role for teachers and other school staff with ideas of support that have been shown to be effective in building resilience.

The guide can be downloaded from here

Paul Millar from Barnardo’s N.I. said “Research demonstrates that children’s resilience can be increased when they have the support of a key person. Given the amount of time children spend in school, teachers and staff are well placed to identify when children need additional support. These resources will help equip school staff with the tools to better respond to children, affected by parental substance misuse.”

The second resource is the Steps to Cope website which is an online information resource designed to support young people living with the presence of alcohol misuse, substance misuse or mental health difficulties in their family. The website, which is tablet and smart phone friendly has information for young people aged 11 to 18 and those working with these young people. It also has an online, self-help intervention which young people can use at their own pace and is easily navigated.

ASCERT Chief Executive Gary McMichael said, “We have developed online resources for young people and guidance for schools to help support the many young people living in families where there are parental alcohol, substance use or mental health problems. It is important that young people living with these challenges are aware that there are sources of help available to them. It is also important that professionals, like teachers are informed about these issues and how they can be of support to the young people in their care. These resources have been developed with funding from the National Lottery Community Fund.”

Ed Sipler, Health Development Specialist, South Eastern HSC Trust added “There are thousands of young people in Northern Ireland affected by their parents, drinking, drug taking or mental health problems. Many of these young people live with these issues in silence. What we were determined to do was create resources that clearly says to young people “you are not alone”.