NATIONAL FAMILY SUPPORT NETWORKSUPPORTING FAMILY MEMBERS LIVING WITH SUBSTANCE MISUSE
Young Persons’ Support Programme
For many years the National Family Support Network (NFSN) has been supporting adult family members living with substance misuse. The Network is now pleased to announce a special programme specifically designed to meet the needs of young people who are aged under 18 and who are also living with a relative’s addiction problem.
The issue of sibling support was raised through both formal and informal networks linked to the NFSN. Initially many parents were approaching the NFSN stating that their non-drug using children had suffered as a result of their brother or sisters 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.
In addition to this the need for a support programme for young people living with problematic substance use was identified by a number of groups around Ireland who were running family support programmes for family members of people in addiction. These groups who were affiliated with the NFSN, highlighted this need to the 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.
Over the past 12 months, the NFSN has developed a Young Persons’ Support Programme (YPSP) and 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.
The Young Persons’ Support Programme is a ten module activity based programme that supports the development of coping skills in young people living with problem drug or alcohol use in their homes. The modules are included below and 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.
Session 1 - Getting to know each other
Session 2 - My Future Goals
Session 3 - Managing Stress
Session 4 - Communication and Conflict
Session 5 - Assertiveness and Saying No
Session 6 - Drugs and Alcohol
Session 7 - Group Outing
Session 8 - Coping Better
Session 9 - Straight Thinking
Session 10 - What we have learned