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I have the
confidence
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?

700,000

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

2,388

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.

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

Substance use and self care

Children living with parents who drink or misuse drugs often blame themselves for mum or dad’s behaviour. They think it’s their fault. Many don’t tell anyone what’s going on at home because they’re scared or worried it will get their parents in trouble. So they keep it secret at the cost of their mental health.

Our substance misuse services help young people understand addiction. Gradually, they realise their parent’s behaviour is out of control. They start looking after themselves, rebuilding confidence, focusing more at school. We’re able to work with them over a long time, giving them what they need to feel better about the future.

How many young people has CHHAT helped?

191

young people accessed our CHHAT substance support service

77%

said they improved their mental health and well-being

Working with children most at risk

illustration of closed eyes crying

Safe spaces for sharing

Children living with addicted parents often find it hard to talk about. Even with friends. They won't fully understand. So we offer safe spaces for children affected by substance use to come together and talk about their feelings.

It shows them they're not alone. There are other children going through the same thing. Many keep in touch even after they leave the project. One group even created a booklet to let their parents know how they feel. Their drawings inspired this animation, used to raise awareness of parental substance use.

Working with families and professionals

As well as working directly with young people, we also support families and professionals.

We raise awareness of hidden harm so that professionals can spot the signs a child is being neglected. We promote best practice so young people feel able to build strong relationships with their worker and feel confident asking for help.

We also have services for whole families. We get them talking, listening, doing group activities. Over time, they become closer and happier being together.