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Preventing Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Substance Use Problems

Alcohol and Drug Prevention Briefing Paper

This paper intends to provide teachers, educators and the wider school workforce with practical guidelines on how to prevent children and young people from developing mental health problems as a result of alcohol and drug misuse. As children grow up and develop, they develop strategies on how to become resilient and learn to cope with life’s challenges such as the loss of a friend, the death of a family member, divorce, or changing schools. Nonetheless, a complex interaction of behavioural, biological and environmental factors places some children at greater risk than others for emotional and behavioural disorders that can range from mild to severe and may be long-lasting. These disorders can disrupt a child’s ability to cope and can interfere with their ability to learn and develop. This is why early detection helps teachers, parents and carers identify children’s emotional or behavioural challenges and assist in making available the appropriate services and support before their problems worsen and longer term consequences develop. Mentor promotes evidence-based prevention practices around alcohol and drugs misuse. This briefing paper is part of a series of resources available for teachers, facilitators and leadership roles. The principal objective is to enable young people’s healthy development and resilience towards risky situations, specifically with regards to mental health and substance misuse.