“You are not alone” is the message for children and young people who are trying to cope with life while living with alcoholic parents, this international Children of Alcoholics Week.
Doncaster Children’s Services Trust and Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) joined forces and were supported by local Don Valley MP Caroline Flint to host an information event held at Doncaster College.
Said Caroline Flint: “Around one in five children are badly affected by their parents’ drinking. Those children are twice as likely to have problems at school; three times more likely to consider suicide; and four times more likely to become alcoholics themselves. The effects of excessive drinking by parents are long-lasting, so we need young people to know where to turn to.”
While young people may not know where they can get help in their struggle to live with their alcoholic parents, both the Children's Trust and RDaSH were able to advise them who to turn to.
Doncaster Children’s Services Trust has a number of services which can offer support, including its Parent and Family Support Service and its newly-launched Multi-Systemic Therapy – Child Abuse and Neglect (MST-CAN) service; while RDaSH has a Family Moving on Together (MOT) programme.
The services also shared information about national charity NACOA (National Association for Children of Alcoholics) which provides a confidential helpline - 0800 358 3456 - for anyone who is affected by their parent’s drinking and needs advice and support.
Maxine Smith, Family Support Worker at the Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, said: “There may be children and young people in Doncaster who are struggling every day with life with an alcoholic parent. They may well be suffering in silence because they are embarrassed and also because they don’t know where to get help.
“Our message is that you are not alone. There are lots of people who can help and we encourage them to speak up and access that support.”
Naomi Handley-Ward, of RDaSH’s Family MOT programme, said: “We want families to know we are here to help. The effects of drug and alcohol addiction can have a big impact on the whole family. The idea behind our Family MOT programme is to bring families together, who have similar experiences, and to give them the opportunity to talk and listen to each other. We will show them how to make small but positive changes to help improve their family life.”
The Trust can be contacted on 01302 737777 or take a look at www.doncasterchildrenstrust.co.uk