Stand Up! is a school-based youth development Programme for young people whose lives are influenced by alcohol and other drug use.
With the aim of supporting young people to reduce the impact of alcohol and other drug, Stand Up!:
Rather than waiting for alcohol and other drugs to become a big problem in a young person’s life (for example by getting to the point where a young person may be at risk of being stood down or excluded from school), Stand Up! encourages and supports young people to make positive changes much earlier on. This means positively engaging and connecting with young people before they think that their alcohol or other drug use is an issue. In order to achieve this, Stand Up! is promoted in schools as a Youth Development Programme rather than an ‘alcohol and other drug’ programme. In this way, young people are empowered to make positive choices about their alcohol and other drug use as just one amongst many important aspects of their lives. This approach also helps to avoid the stigma that can come from being involved in an alcohol and other drug programme, fear of which can sometimes discourage young people from seeking help even when they recognise they need it.
Reflecting this, Stand Up! is founded on principles of positive youth development and reflects the Te Whare Tapa Wha and Fonofale models of health and wellbeing. It also draws on national and international research evidence of ‘what works’ for young people, both in relation to their overcoming AOD-related problems as well as their personal and social development.
As a new and innovative model of service for young people, Stand Up! is also characterised by the fact that it is tailored to and integrated within the unique community of each participating school. This means that, rather than having to visit an external service, young people are able to access the confidential advice and support they need from specially trained practitioners within their own school, with the guidance of the Student Support Service.
Stand Up! is being developed and piloted in partnership by 11 lower decile schools in South Auckland, Counties Manukau District Health Board, Odyssey House Auckland and every young person who participates in the Programme!
Counties Manukau DHB’s decision to develop and pilot a school-based AOD service in partnership with Odyssey House Auckland and local schools was initially informed by its already existing partnership with local lower decile schools to develop and implement school-based health services.
Beginning initially in December 2006 in six lower decile schools, the Programme was extended into a further 5 schools in January 2009 following the very positive findings of an independent evaluation. After the success of this evaluation, Counties Manukau District Health Board decided to further expand Stand Up!. Youthline Auckland Charitable Trust was the successful tendering organisation, and will be providing Stand Up! services from Term Two 2011. This will raise the total number of schools involved with Stand Up! to thirteen.
Two trained alcohol and other drug youth practitioners, one male and one female, work as members of the multidisciplinary Student Support Service team of each participating school. This means they are able to decide what kind of support would be best for each student in partnership with other members this team. It also means that the specialist support of the Stand Up! practitioners is then provided as part of this team alongside other specialist contributions from school counselors, social workers and nurses whenever necessary.
In a nutshell, being involved in the Stand Up! Programme means that young people have access to tailored support that might include a combination of one-to-one counseling, group activities, peer support and family meetings. The main steps that a young person involved in Stand Up! is likely to go through are:
The practitioners try to ensure that each young person will miss a maximum of one period a week.
The practitioners want to respect everyone’s story. In order to achieve this, they let young people know that what they talk about remains private and isn’t shared with others. However, the practitioners also let young people know that they work in a team with the student support staff, such as the school counselor, and that sometimes they may need to share information with other members of this team. This is especially the case if they are worried that a young person could be harmed by someone, or perhaps harm themselves or another person.
Each young person is encouraged to let the practitioners know if they are especially keen for something that they’d like to share to remain confidential.
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