This page will give you information about how children and young people can feel when they have a family member that uses alcohol or drugs, and suggest some ways to help and support them.
Supporting children and young people
Alcohol and drug use within the family is often not spoken about, but it is important to remember that you are not alone and support is always available.
Over 5 million people in the UK are affected by someone else’s drinking or drug use, including lots of children and young people.
Children and young people impacted by family substance use can sometimes feel scared, worried and confused. They might feel that they can’t talk to anyone because they will get themselves or someone else into trouble.
‘‘Today I found out there are other people who have similar problems and I’m not on my own”
You can read stories from more people who have been in situations like yours and were helped by our services by clicking the link below:
It is important for children and young people to know that it is not their fault, and that there are ways they can manage difficult family situations.
We have a page on advice for under 18s impacted by family substance use.
Getting support from Change Grow Live
We have 20 services across the country that support children and young people who may have been affected by someone else’s drug or alcohol use. You might sometimes hear these services called our ‘hidden harm’ services.
We empower children and young people to cope with difficult family situations and feel stronger in themselves.
We don’t judge anyone involved, and our services are confidential. We are not a part of social services, and our workers are not social workers.
Our services are a safe space for people to explore their feelings about a situation they might not feel they have much control over.
We’ve put together some answers to a few questions you might have about how our services can help:
We have a flexible approach, and we’ll meet with your child wherever is appropriate. This could be at home, at school, somewhere they choose, or it could be via Zoom or WhatsApp if they prefer.
We can only offer support to families who are willing and happy to be supported.
No. We may ask questions about drugs and alcohol at our first meeting, but the questions aren’t linked to anyone specific.
No. Our services are confidential. Things discussed by your child in their sessions will only be discussed with individuals outside of that session if there are concerns for an individual’s safety or wellbeing.
No, we are a charity made up of Children and Family Support Workers. We work alongside lots of other services to give your family the best support possible, this may sometimes include Social Care.
We’ll arrange a convenient time to meet with you and discuss any questions you have. Then we will meet with your child to decide what sort of support is right for them. Your child and their keyworker will agree on a plan for how and when they’ll meet.
If you’re struggling with drugs or alcohol, we’re here to help.