LONDON, 27 JULY 2017 -- Today, Mentor launches its Five Year Strategic Plan setting out clearly its "life-course approach to prevention" which can be shown to be the most effective way of preventing harms to young people from alcohol and other drugs.
In the plan Mentor highlights its suite of evidence-based programmes that have been proven to change young people's attitudes and behaviour to alcohol and drugs and to engage them in education, training, volunteering and work. Mentor is working for an effective, comprehensive and national prevention strategy with families, schools and communities. No single approach can prevent a young person experimenting with alcohol or drugs, but Mentor wants to create a prevention 'ecosystem' which increases protective factors and reduces risks.
Mentor works with children and young people up to 25, as well as the adults who support them, to deliver education, advice and resources in the home, education and community settings.
The plan's top goals are:
- Aim to reach 1 million young people through direct and indirect evidence-based prevention.
- 100,000 parents and carers to receive support to build their preventative impact on young people in their care.
- 20,000 practitioners and professionals working with young people to improve their expertise, resources and capacity to provide evidence-based prevention.
The climate on prevention is shifting. The government’s new national drug strategy, published on 14 July, places prevention as one its central pillars so signalling a measurable change towards evidence-based drugs education and away from 'scare tactics'. The national strategy seeks to reduce demand by, "prevent[ing] the onset of drug use, and its escalation at all ages, through universal action combined with more targeted action for the most vulnerable…and placing a greater emphasis on building resilience and confidence among our young people to prevent the range of risks they face."
The plan also shows how Mentor's programmes are making a direct and positive impact on young people's attitudes to alcohol and drugs. The Good Behaviour Game prevention programme, trialled by Mentor in primary schools across the north of England, has been recognised by Government as an initiative "to prevent substance misuse and crime." Mentor also developed ADEPIS (Alcohol and Drug Education Information Service), the leading source of alcohol and drug education resources for schools.
Chair of Mentor's Trustees, Sim Scavazza said, "Ultimately, prevention isn't a goal which is finally achieved; it is something which needs repeating and improving with each new age group. We need to keep establishing greater evidence and still be flexible enough to adapt to new trends such as New Psychoactive Substances. By investing in proven strategies, we can reduce the risks of substance misuse before problems arise and we can deliver interventions that transform young people's lives, helping them realise their potential. This strategic plan is the bridge between our conviction and its reality."
Mentor's CEO, Michael O'Toole, welcomed the strategy: "This plan makes a bold and ambitious case for prevention and intends to influence and persuade that prevention deserves investment for our children's future wellbeing. The Mentor team and our advisors devised the strategy together so is very much a collective vision allied to our active programmes.
"Figures show prevention is having a very positive impact but we recognise the need for parents and carers to take a more active role in keeping young people safe from drugs and alcohol. We must recognise that is by building upon young people's inherent potential that can enable them to make positive, healthy life choices. Only by fostering children and young people's resilience and life skills can we expect education programmes to be truly effective at preventing harms later on."
Notes for Editors
- Mentor was founded in the UK in 1998 and is part of a group of charities affiliated with the Mentor International Foundation, a partnership that shares knowledge and best practice about prevention across the globe. Mentor International’s President is our founder, Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden. Mentor works with children and young people up to 25, as well as the adults who support them, to deliver education, advice and resources in the home, education and community settings.
- Mentor is the UK’s leading charity working to prevent the misuse of alcohol and drugs among children and young people. We run evidence-based programmes in a variety of settings for different groups of young people. Mentor developed ADEPIS, the leading source of alcohol and drug education resources for schools, and now maintains the CAYT repository of impact studies of evidence-based programmes. In October 2016, Mentor merged with the Angelus Foundation, the lead charity raising awareness of the harms of New Psychoactive Substances.
- The Government’s new national drugs strategy places prevention as a key pillar in reducing demand for drugs, “we must act the earliest opportunity to prevent people taking drugs in the first place and prevent escalation to more harmful use.”
- If you wish to interview Mentor CEO Michael O’Toole, or for any press enquiries please contact: email@example.com or 07932 639797 or Jeremy Sare on firstname.lastname@example.org on 07747 727993.