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Young Persons’ Support Programme

The National Family Support Network is pleased to announce that we are now providing a free programme specifically designed to meet the needs of young people who are aged under 18 and who are living with a relative’s addiction problem. The Young Persons’ Support Programme is a ten module activity based programme that supports the development of vital life skills in young people living with problem drug or alcohol use in their homes. The NFSN hope that by implementing such a programme, many young people around Ireland will get the care and support that they need during a difficult period in their lives. It is currently being ran in a number of organizations nationally.

Where did the programme come from?

The issue of support for siblings and young people is frequently raised both directly to the NFSN and to our affiliated members, and continues to be a serious issue throughout the country. Many parents have approached us stating that their non-drug using children had suffered as a result of their brother or sister's drug use.  When parents thought back to the years they spent worrying about their drug using child, they regretted the lack of time and attention they paid to their non-drug using children during that time.  This lack of time and attention led to feelings of guilt, anger, resentment, hurt and regret on the part of both parents and their drug using and non-drug using children.

These difficulties continued to be identified by a number of groups around Ireland who were running family support programmes for family members of people in addiction, who in turn fed back into the wider Network. While some of these groups were running locally developed programmes, it was felt that a more formal, structured and evidence based programme that could be implemented nationwide, needed to be developed in order to support young people sufficiently.

In response to this need, the NFSN has developed a Young Persons’ Support Programme (YPSP). The programme’s development was based on a comprehensive literature review and a steering group comprised of people with expertise in the areas of youth work, family support and drug and alcohol services designed the modules over a number of months. It is hoped it will be a helpful resource that Youth Projects, Drug Projects and Family Resource Centres can use in order to reach out to and support this vulnerable yet resilient demographic.

What’s in the programme?

The programme is designed to emphasis the experiences of the young people themselves, and support them as they voice the stresses and difficulties that they face as a result of familial addiction and substance misuse. As such, the programme is made up of 10 modules, meant to be delivered over a course of either 10 weeks or as an intensive 2 week summer programme, which cover a wide range of vital life skills that can help a young person. The modules are:

  1. Getting to know each other/sharing stories – to set up the group, and look at some of the things that are difficult about having a family member in addiction
  2. My Future – To discuss dreams and goals, to learn about their own talents and skils, and look at the hurdles that can stop us reaching our goals
  3. Managing Stress – to learn about stress and how it feels, and learn new ways to relieve and manage this stress
  4. Communication and Conflict – to learn how to be a better communicator, and how to manage conflict in a positive way
  5. Assertiveness and Saying No – to recognize when we have trouble saying no, and learn how to be assertive without upsetting others
  6. Drugs and Alcohol – To get rid of myths surrounding drugs and alcohol, and explore when it can become a problem
  7. Group Outing – to provide an opportunity for participants to enjoy themselves, and reflect on each other’s positive qualities
  8. Coping Better – to learn how to better identify and manage emotions, and how to seek and give help when needed
  9. Straight Thinking – to learn how to identify unhelpful thinking, and how to mend these thoughts
  10. What we have learned – to recap over the achievements of the group over the programme and show appreciation

The programme draws from a number of evidence-based approaches, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness, and Emotional Intelligence, and has been adapted from SibShop, a U.S. programme for supporting siblings of people with disabilities.

As such, it emphasises a non-judgemental, non-prescriptive approach that supports the young people on their own terms and in their own rights, rather than merely family members of someone in addiction.

Click here to preview Chapter 1 of the manual

What next?

Information sessions will be provided throughout the year, and will be advertised throughout our network. These information sessions will be arranged on request for groups of five or more, and the necessary resource material will be provided on completion.

If you are a youth worker who works with a youth project, school, or family resource centre, and are interested in this programme please don’t hesitate to contact Conor on 01-8980148 or at development@fsn.ie


NACD Family Study

Men at Work 3

Men at Work 2

Men at Work 1

5-Step Method

Responding to Intimidation 2013

Family Support Network Newsletter

Family Support Network Publications

External Family Support Publications

General Family Support Publications

Contact Us

National Family Support Network
5 Gardiner Row, Dublin 1, Ireland

Phone: +353 (01) 8980148
Fax: +353 (01) 8889628
Email: info@fsn.ie
Web: www.fsn.ie

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