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Concurrent disorders and youth populations: Understanding and supporting youth who use substances

September 28 @ 1:00 pm 4:00 pm

This training will introduce participants to understanding concurrent disorders and youth substance use, exploring reasons why youth use substances to better facilitate engagement and interventions. Participants will have opportunities to learn new engagement strategies, clinical approaches and broaden their understanding of common substance-use patterns among youth.

Through a trauma-informed, anti-racism and anti-colonial framework, this training will include content focused on understanding stigma surrounding substance use across differing communities. This training will help service providers support youth struggling with their substance use, as well as their parents, with more compassion and effectiveness.

Participants will learn a basic understanding of the different types of substances which are common among youth. This will include focus on risks associated with different substances with harm reduction strategies recommended.

This training will introduce participants to the transtheoretical (stages of change) model and increase understanding of challenges clients may face in making changes to their substance use. We will: review principles of motivational interviewing; review harm reduction and abstinence-based models in order to understand the connection between these two approaches to care; and explore the interconnection between substance use and mental health challenges (concurrent disorders).

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges in supporting youth using substances. Increased isolation and multiple changes and restrictions have had a negative impact on the mental health of many youth. This training will explore how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted substance use patterns for youth and provide case examples and adapted engagement strategies.

Learning objectives:

  • Identify warning signs that youth are struggling with their mental health/substance use  
  • Increase their capacity to engage youth in conversation about substance use  
  • Understand the overlapping individual and systemic factors that contribute to challenges with mental health and substance use  
  • Learn about maladaptive coping strategies and build skills to teach youth safer coping strategies