Current figures indicate that 1 in 5 children and young people are affected by their parent’s drinking. Not only is this a worryingly high figure, but it’s also concerning how little awareness there is about this issue.
This week sees the NACOA launch Children of Alcoholics Week – a campaign to raise awareness of children affected by parental alcohol problems. NACOA offers information, advise and support to children of alcohol dependent parents, as well as a free helpline and useful resources – for useful information and tips visit https://nacoa.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Some-mums-and-dads-drink-too-much.pdf
Recognising the impact that alcoholism and addiction to other substances can have on young people is something Keys Group are keen to raise awareness of, so that staff and young people can talk openly about it and learn from people’s experiences.
Keys’ National Specialist Advisor for Substance Misuse Fran Gracie explains how Keys Group raises awareness of parental substance misuse (PSM) through staff training.
“We roll out PSM training every month to staff to educate them about the effects of alcohol and other substances on health and wellbeing, as well as the potential damage to relationships and families.
“The training covers the following issues:
- Addiction and the cycle of change
- The exposure to substance affecting attachments, family dynamics, relationships, health and long and short-term development
- PSM increasing the risks of physical and emotional neglect
- PSM being implicated in behavioural and mental health problems in Children and Young People
- Foetal alcohol syndrome and alcohol related brain damage
“Foetal alcohol syndrome and ARBD can have lifelong effects on the development of children and young people, so educating people about the severity of this issue is crucial. Our ongoing training is part of this education process.”
Fran Gracie is an experienced advisor in substance misuse. Prior to joining Keys, she was a systemic family therapist working in substance misuse services for children and their families. She has considerable experience of how substances can affect entire families, offering interventions to help families and their children.