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It Starts With Us: caring for others around drugs and alcohol

Posted on 22nd February 2024

Youth Solutions campaign highlights self-care and peer support

Youth Solutions has launched its 2024 It Starts With Us campaign, an annual reminder of the importance of prioritising your health and wellbeing and practicing self-care while supporting those who may be experiencing alcohol, drug or mental health issues.

The campaign, delivered in partnership with Campbelltown Catholic Club, aims to destigmatise and encourage help-seeking for drug, alcohol and related wellbeing issues, by equipping young people with practical tools to take care of themselves and support their peers.

It Starts With Us notes the importance of prioritising self-care, particularly if you have a caring role in your personal or professional life. The campaign particularly runs alongside Youth Solutions and Campbelltown Catholic Club’s Health Pro+ project which provides drug and alcohol education and support to emerging health and community service professionals, to assist them in both their personal and professional lives.

It Starts With Us was launched this month, and will include outreach activities at local tertiary education institutions, distribution of the campaign’s goodies and “guide to supporting others” and a robust digital campaign.

Youth Solutions staff run a campaign stall to engage with tertiary education students.

Photo caption: Youth Solutions’ Jess and UOW intern Georgina host an It Starts With Us campaign outreach stall to engage with young people.

Youth Solutions Chief Executive Officer Geraldine Dean said the It Starts With Us campaign underscored the drug and alcohol prevention charity’s vision of “A community of young people with the capacity to live healthy, safe and well-connected lives.”

“To ensure our young people can have healthy, safe and well-connected lives, we have to give them the strategies and skills to look out for themselves and each other,” Mrs Dean said.

“This campaign aims to normalise help-seeking for drug and alcohol related issues and aims to equip our young people and the next generation of youth supporters with some practical strategies to first take care of themselves and then to support their peers with these issues. From checking-in, through to navigating services and support options, we can all play a key role in helping our peers to get the support they need.”

Mrs Dean said the campaign and Health Pro+ project would not be possible without support and funding from long-term Major Corporate Partner, Campbelltown Catholic Club. “We are so grateful to the Club and its team for their support and for helping us to make a difference in this space.”

Campbelltown Catholic Club General Manager Michael Lavorato also commended the campaign and partnership with Youth Solutions.

“Here at Campbelltown Catholic Club, we are committed to supporting and keeping our community safe,” Mr Lavorato said. “It Starts With Us is practical guide to supporting and looking out for each other. Everyone needs support at certain times in their lives, and this campaign highlights how we can do that in caring, non-intrusive but effective ways. We are proud to support Youth Solutions and its work on this important campaign.”

Get involved:

  • Put your knowledge to the test and take the It Starts With Us is a quiz. Learn some practical tips for supporting others and go into the draw for a $200 Ultimate Gift Card
  • Check out the web page, tips video or download the campaign guide to supporting others
  • Engage with the campaign on Instagram and TikTok
  • Reach out to Youth Solutions for a campaign pack or for help in navigating help and support services: or 4628 2319

A snapshot of the top It Starts With Us tips:

  • Self-care is the place to start when supporting others experiencing drug, alcohol or mental health concerns. Prioritise the basics like eating well, getting enough sleep, making time for yourself and seeking support and assistance for yourself when you need it (check out our top self-care picks)
  • Start a conversation and foster positive connections. Initiating the first conversation is a crucial step in supporting someone in need. Regularly check in on people, especially if you sense they are struggling or notice changes in their behaviour
  • Encourage action. When helping others with drug, alcohol or mental health issues, we need to recognise our own limitations and ensure we connect the person with professional support. Offer to go with them or sit next to them as they make a call. Continue to check in and ask how they are going
  • Emergency response. Emergencies can relate to physical or mental health. Always call triple 000 in an emergency and provide accurate information to services to ensure the right treatment is given. You also can be proactive and upskill by completing a first aid and/or mental health first aid course
  • Start influencing change. Take small steps to challenge stigma and make help-seeking normal among friends, family, workplaces and educational settings. This could be challenging stereotypes, using positive language and being open to educational opportunities. We want ALL people to be able to access help for drug and alcohol issues when they need it

Photo of Youth Solutions CEO Geraldine Dean presenting a certificate of appreciation to Campbelltown Catholic Club Marketing Coordinator Jess Satara in front of the campaign digital banner in the Club foyer.

Photo caption: Youth Solutions CEO Geraldine Dean presents a certificate of appreciation to Campbelltown Catholic Club Marketing Coordinator Jess Satara.

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