Piloting the 5-Step Method with young people affected by parental substance misuse or mental health problems in Northern Ireland

First published: 10 May 2019 | Last updated: 20 May 2019

As part of its response to the Hidden Harm and Think Family agendas one area of Northern Ireland has developed Steps to Cope, a brief and structured intervention to support young people who are living with parental substance misuse and/or parental mental health problems.  The Steps to Cope intervention has been adapted from the 5-Step Method, which has been developed and tested to support adult family members who have a relative with an alcohol or drug problem, and which has been recommended as good practice by, for example, NICE and the NTA.  The presentation will present preliminary data from an exploratory study which is assessing whether the adult intervention model can be adapted for a younger population.  An intervention booklet has been developed and 21 practitioners have been trained, 13 of whom have worked with a total of 21 young people to date.  The presentation will present a profile of the young people, before summarising some of the emerging qualitative findings about how the young people have benefitted from the intervention and how the practitioners feel the work has enhanced their practice.  The data suggest that young people have valued the opportunity to talk about the problems at home, to learn more about addiction and mental health problems, to explore how they cope with what is going on, and to consider their support networks and who is there for them.  The preliminary findings will be discussed in the context of developments with this population in Northern Ireland and the wider potential for this work.


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Lorna Templeton