Help available for parents and caregivers concerned about teen substance use

Facing teen substance use or abuse can raise many issues

Are you a parent or caregiver concerned about your teen’s substance use?

The John Howard Society of North Island (JHSNI) is offering a free group called Parent Awareness of Youth Substance Use (PAYS). PAYS will meet on Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:30 p.m. beginning on Oct. 12 for six weeks. Over the six sessions parents and caregivers will learn about substance use, adolescent development, and the Stages of Change Model. They will develop strategies to promote resiliency and positive change.

“Being confronted with a youth’s substance use is very scary for most parents,” said Velma Mockett, JHSNI Substance Use Counsellor and one of the group facilitators. “We hope to help caregivers and parents feel more confident in their ability to address this concern. More understanding and some practical strategies can go a long way.”

JHSNI first offered PAYS in February-March 2011. Feedback from parents and caregivers was positive, with post-group surveys reporting an overall increase in self-care, a better understanding of youth substance use, and more confidence in connecting with community-based supports.

Facing teen substance use or abuse can raise many issues—one of which is the stigma that often goes along with substance use.

“My experience is that, generally, youth and their parents or caregivers often have common goals. Communication challenges and other problems can make it hard to see that there are points of connection,” said Gary Hartford, JHSNI Substance Use Counsellor and PAYS co-facilitator.

To register, call 250-286-0611.