youth solutions logo
Donate Need Help?


It Starts With Us: together, supporting each other

Posted on 23rd February 2023

Youth campaign offers self-care and peer support to address alcohol and drug issues

A new campaign encouraging young people to seek out and support one another is in full swing across Macarthur and Wingecarribee.

Youth drug and alcohol prevention and health promotion charity, Youth Solutions, joined forces with Campbelltown Catholic Club to launch the It Starts With Us campaign last month. At its heart, the campaign encourages young people to reach out and support their mates around issues of alcohol and other drugs and related wellbeing and mental health issues.

Youth Solutions Chief Executive Officer Geraldine Dean said the campaign was based on peer-influence research that highlighted the importance of peer support among young people.

“Research shows that support from peers can help people feel accepted, find new coping strategies, increase knowledge, improve social skills, improve self-efficacy, manage challenges better and improve their quality of life,” Mrs Dean said. “Everything we do at Youth Solutions acknowledges and incorporates the importance of peer influence for positive behaviours and coping skills. This new campaign, It Starts With Us, in partnership with Campbelltown Catholic Club and with input from our own youth volunteers, is bringing that concept to a new level.”

“It is about all of us taking small, practical steps to take care of ourselves and to check in and support those around us who might be experiencing drug and alcohol concerns or related mental health and wellbeing challenges. The campaign aims to encourage young people to be there for one another and to assist those in their lives to access further professional support if they need it.”

Perhaps most importantly, the campaign is encouraging young people, and all of us, to START. Whether it be starting with a self-check-in or self-care, starting a conversation with a friend you are worried about or starting a connection to help someone seek out further support for drugs, alcohol and related challenges. The top tips:

  • START with a self-check-in: Before helping others, it’s important to check in with yourself. We should regularly ask ourselves questions about how we are tracking: how am I feeling? Am I sleeping? Using alcohol and other drugs? Exercising? Connecting with others? Do I need some help in these areas?
  • START with self-care: Supporting others well starts with actively looking after your own health and wellbeing. Get back to basics: exercise regularly, eat well and get some rest. Stay connected with others, seek help if your alcohol or drug use is becoming problematic, say no when you feel over-committed, make time for your interests and plan activities to look forward to.
  • START a conversation: Starting that first conversation is a key step to help someone in need. Check in with people regularly, particularly if you have a feeling they aren’t doing so well or notice changes in their behaviour. Pick the right moment to ask how they are doing, tell them you are concerned, offer to chat or connect them to the right person, ask if they’d like to do something positive together. Be prepared they may not want to talk right away; don’t forget to check in again later.
  • START a connection: When supporting others, we may not always be in the position to provide the support the person may need. It is important to acknowledge our limits and connect the person to professional supports. Youth Solutions’ It Starts With Us campaign can help with this:

Youth Solutions Community Relations & Communications Coordinator, Amanda Dillon, who is heading up the campaign, said that while It Starts With Us was aimed at minimising harm to our young people, we all have a responsibility to step up and start the conversation about alcohol and other drugs.

“We all have the power to take small steps to challenge stigma and normalise help-seeking around alcohol, drugs and mental health with friends, family and within our workplaces and learning environments.”

Some practical strategies we all can adopt include:

  • Challenging stereotypes: avoid judging, labelling or discriminating those around you. Speak up when you hear people around you making stereotypical or inaccurate comments.
  • Mind your language: the words we use with ourselves and others can make a real impact.
  • Inform and educate yourself and those around you: Be open to learning opportunities and engage in respectful conversations to upskill others. Connect with the Youth Solutions team for more information about training offerings for current and future sector workers, educators and parents/carers.

Campbelltown Catholic Club Chief Executive Officer Michael Lavorato said the club was proud to support Youth Solutions and the It Starts With Us campaign. “The Club and our staff are committed to supporting and keeping our patrons and our community safe, especially our young people. So, working with Youth Solutions on this important campaign is something we were passionate about doing – looking after ourselves and supporting others should be a priority for us all,” Mr Lavorato said.

For more information about the It Starts With Us campaign activities and tips for supporting others visit the web page or connect on social media:

To enquire about Health Pro+ and Youth Solutions’ other projects and services, visit the Health Pro+ web page, call the team on 02 4628 2319 or email

Skip to content