Authors: Sophia Garlick Bock
Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Strong & Deadly Futures: Building resilience and preventing drug and alcohol use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous youth.
Type of resource: Audio
Sophia is a research assistant with The Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use at the University of Sydney. At The Matilda Centre, she is involved in developing drug and alcohol prevention resources that are culturally appropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.
School-based prevention programs have proven effective in reducing alcohol and other drug (AOD) related harms among young people and delay substance use. However, consultations with Indigenous communities have identified a lack of evidence-based culturally-appropriate AOD prevention resources for Indigenous youth. We will demonstrate the development of a culturally inclusive drug and alcohol prevention program, based on the research literature and positive stories from secondary students.
Peer-reviewed and grey-literature databases were searched for AOD prevention programs for Indigenous youth in Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada. In partnership with an Indigenous creative agency (Gilimbaa) we undertook a photovoice project with Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and consultations with their teachers.
The review identified 26 evaluated prevention programs, of which 14 demonstrated some evidence for effectiveness. Consistently, effective programs included combinations of cultural knowledge enhancement, skill development, AOD education, or community members’ involvement in development. Consultation feedback indicated a need for empowering and culturally appropriate AOD prevention materials that are suitable for mixed classroom settings. The story and characters in this illustrated story-based program were based on students’ positive stories gathered through photographs.
An interactive, computerised program was developed with Gilimbaa, which integrated the evidence from the literature and the consultations.
Learning Objective 1: The audience will gain a broad understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of current alcohol and drug prevention approaches for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth. They will also receive insights into a prevention program we have developed that is built on positive stories from secondary students and combines strengthening resilience and cultural strengths with teaching drug and alcohol knowledge.
Learning Objective 2: We will demonstrate practical application of a strength-based approach in the development of drug and alcohol prevention approaches for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth. These approaches can be used by others developing programs to improve wellbeing.
Snijder, M., Stapinski, L. A., Lees, B., Newtown, N. C., Champion, K., Chapman, C., & Teesson, M. (2018). The development of a computerised school-based prevention program to empower Indigenous youth: building on strengths. Annals of Behavioural Medicine, 52, 374.
Snijder, M., Stapinski, L. A., Lees, B., Newtown, N. C., Champion, K., Chapman, C., Ward, J., & Teesson, M. (2018) Substance use prevention programs for Indigenous adolescents in the United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand: Protocol for a Systematic Review. JMIR Research Protocols, 7(2), 1-10.