Understanding what works for prevention

Understanding and engaging with research and evidence is critically important for anyone involved in funding, commissioning, designing, delivering and evaluating prevention services for young people.

Ongoing research into building an evidence base for ‘what works’ underpins everything we do, from piloting programmes to engaging in national campaigns and policy development.

Mentor advocates for prevention programmes that have been proven by hard evidence to change young people’s attitudes and behaviour to alcohol and drugs and to (re-)engage them in education, training, volunteering and work.


Literature Review: Young people, mental health and substance use: Exploring the links (2018-present)

The review is part of a collaborative project between the Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Middlesex University and MENTOR UK, providing key findings from the literature on mental health in childhood and adolescence and to consider, in particular, links between mental health and substance use. The second part of this project will look at existing interventions for young people experiencing mental health and substance use problems and consider the evidence for ‘what works’. See first part here

Families Together (2012 – present)

Families Together builds on the work of Mentor’s EU-funded kinship care project, completed in March 2011. This project takes that work to the next stage, helping to build emotional resilience and better family relationships among kinship care families. The project is structured to refine a sustainable, evidence-based model of support that can be readily adopted by all 32 local authorities in Scotland. See more.

Good Behaviour Game (2015 – 2019)

Mentor has been funded to lead a UK pilot of the Good Behavhiour Game (GBG), an evidence-based approach to classroom management that helps children learn how to work together to create a positive learning environment. See more.

The Bottle Project (2015 – present)

The Bottle Project is a peer-led programme that aims to build resilience to risks – particularly alcohol misuse and offending behaviour – and to foster healthy ambition, determination and a sense of community among participants. See more.

M-PACT Plus (2013 – present)

Mentor was commissioned to evaluate M-PACT Plus, a joint project between Place2Be and Action on Addiction which involves training school staff to identify children affected by parental drug and alcohol misuse. See more.


Unplugged (compl. 2017)

Mentor led a pilot of the life-skills based prevention programme Unplugged in secondary schools and Pupil Referral Units in Salford, Staffordshire and the Greater Manchester area. See more.

Alcohol & Youth Offending (compl. 2013)

This 12-month study, a joint project between Mentor and Alcohol Concern, aimed to research the links between alcohol use and criminal activity amongst young Londoners receiving non-custodial court sentences. See more.

London Youth Involvement Project (compl. 2013)

LYIP aimed to research effective ways to place young people’s voices at the heart of debates around drug and alcohol prevention. This project highlighted just how essential it is to listen to the very people we aim to prevent coming to harm from drugs and alcohol. See more.

Relative Support (compl. 2013)

Mentor’s report on the needs and experiences of Scottish kinship carers was the first stage in its strategic partnership with government to improve outcomes for children in kinship care. See more.

Street Talk (compl. 2012)

Over an intensive six-month period, Mentor and Addaction trained more than 150 youth workers across England to deliver over 800 interventions aiming to reduce alcohol and drug misuse and related anti-social behaviour. Street Talk used an innovative data capture method – a specially designed Android app integrating screening, evaluation and intervention into one package. See more.

Peer Alcohol Education Project (compl. 2011)

This two-year project was delivered across Scotland to young people at serious risk of alcohol misuse. The research conducted during this project showed peer education to be an effective way of changing young people’s attitudes to alcohol. See more.

BME and Rural Community Alcohol Project (compl. 2011)

This project aimed to improve the evidence around alcohol prevention projects with young people from black and minority ethnic (BME) and rural backgrounds. See more.

Grandparents Project (compl. 2007)

This project was developed in collaboration with Adfam and Grandparents Plus to assess the needs of grandparents who are bringing up their grandchildren as kinship carers, so that they can better protect them from developing problems with alcohol or drugs. This research later informed the definitive Kinship Care Guide for Scotland. See more.