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I have the
to make changes
I have the confidence to make changes

Substance misuse

When someone in the family is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it can cause stress, violence and neglect. It can make children feel confused and alone. We are there when they need to talk. We work with families to understand problem behaviours and make sure addiction doesn't get in the way of a good childhood. 

What is substance misuse?

Many adults drink alcohol or take drugs without any problems. However, when parents are in the grip of an addiction or a problem habit, they can't provide proper care for their children. Home becomes a stressful place to be. A young person may run away or they feel like they have to look after their addicted parent.

Often the child won't tell anyone because they don't want to get mum or dad in trouble. Without a trusted adult to turn to, they are in danger of developing mental health issues or being manipulated into gangs.

how many hospital admissions were there for substance misuse?


children aged between 10 and 17 are estimated to be living with one or two alcohol-dependent parents in the UK


young people affected by substance misuse accessed our services in 2019

substance misuse cropped

They listened to
me, I didn't
feel judged
They listened to me, I didn't feel judged

How we help children affected by substance use

Every child should have the care and support they need when affected by substance addiction.

We work one on one with young people looking to stop using, we host group sessions for children with alcoholic parents, and we help families understand their addictions so they can work on rebuilding relationships with their children.

Working with children most at risk

substance misuse video

Children most at risk

Young people with parents addicted to drugs are at much higher risk of being criminally and sexually exploited. They are also much more likely to be neglected by their parents.

These children need to be heard. Through our work, we enable young people living with alcohol-dependent parents to share their experiences. A group from our Essex services created a booklet to let their parents know how they feel. Their drawings inspired this animation.

mental health quote

It’s helped me just knowing there’s someone I can talk to It’s helped me just knowing there’s someone I can talk to

We care about mental health

Children with parents that misuse substances often suffer from depression and struggle in school. They can worry about their parent’s well-being. Blame themselves. Question their self-worth.

We run drop-in clinics that provide access to mental health practitioners who can help them work through their issues and refer them for more specialised help if required. Everyone should have the chance at a happy, healthy future.

Specialist services

Our Community Hidden Harm Awareness Team (CHHAT) works to change young people's feelings of self-blame. Over three years, 94% of those that accessed the service showed increased resilience and most said they had better mental and emotional health and well-being.


How many young people has CHHAT helped?


young people accessed our CHHAT one-to-one youth support service between August 2017 and July 2020


of the young people that CHAAT supported said they had seen an improvement in their mental health and well-being