Stigma, judgement and misinformation are major road blocks to young people and their families seeking help for drug and alcohol addiction. Together, by starting important conversations and breaking down some of the misconceptions about youth addiction we can help remove these barriers and empower young people to seek help. Get involved today with our Don’t Judge Me campaign!
Don't Judge Me
Join the conversation to help destigmatise youth addiction...
Don't Judge Me
The Don’t Judge Me digital campaign aims to reduce stigma around youth drug and alcohol addiction and break down barriers to young people (and their families) seeking help earlier.
Stigma & addiction
The World Health Organisation ranks substance addiction as the world’s most stigmatised health conditions. Around 1/3 of Australians with problematic alcohol & drug use never seek help.
Touchy Subject online event
On Thursday 23 September our expert panel gathered for a free 1 hour online discussion event on “Touchy Subjects: Does judgement limit young people’s potential?” Watch the full event video now
If you or a young person in your life is experiencing problems with drug and alcohol it’s important to seek help. There’s a range of services available nationally to help you.
Want to access the latest information on youth drug and alcohol issues? We’ve compiled a list of useful youth drug and alcohol resources and factsheets to help you find what you need to know.
Don't Judge Me
The Don’t Judge Me campaign aims to de-stigmatise youth addiction and ultimately break down barriers to young people (and their loved ones) seeking help early.
Created by Sir David Martin Foundation and leading creative agency The Zoo Republic, the digital campaign is designed to be eye-catching and intimate. In posing the question “would you judge me for that?” we gently challenge the viewer’s perceptions and invite them to consider the uncomfortable realities behind many young people’s drug and alcohol use. This can include mental illness, homelessness, abuse, disrupted schooling and trauma. By encouraging a little more empathy and less judgement, perhaps we can make a positive difference to more young people in crisis?
Share the Don’t Judge Me campaign assets
Help us raise awareness via social media. Simply right-click the image of your choice and save to download. Then upload the image on your social media accounts to help us spread the word about de-stigmatising youth addiction.
Social media tiles (jpegs)
Behind youth addiction – the Triple Care Farm experience
As the major funder of Mission Australia’s Triple Care Farm youth residential treatment programs, we see the connection between trauma, youth mental illness and addiction in the stories of the brave 16 – 24 year olds who seek help each year.
Many have already faced significant disadvantage in their lives. Most use a combination of drugs and alcohol to self-medicate and dull their pain.
In 2019, of the 118 students who attended the Withdrawal program at David Martin Place, 90% presented with mental health issues. Over 78% had a family history of substance misuse and had experienced homelessness. Tragically, in the 6 months before arriving at Triple Care Farm, over 42% of these young people had attempted suicide. Also, 60% said they’d had suicidal thoughts.
Similarly, of the 99 young people who sought help from Triple Care Farm’s Rehabilitation program, 93% had experienced mental health issues, over 70% had a family history of substance misuse and homelessness (source: SDMF-Annual-Report-2019_20)
These young people are reaching out for support, compassion, holistic treatment and a safe place to create positive change in their lives. We don’t judge young people, we offer help!
Young people and trauma
Internationally there is a growing body of literature exploring the links between childhood trauma and substance abuse.
The Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (NSMHWB) revealed that 41% of Australian adults (approximately 6.5 million) experienced at least one traumatic event before 17 years of age. The most common traumatic events reported were witnessing domestic violence and experiencing physical or sexual assault. Those exposed to early trauma were 3.6 times more likely to have a mental health or substance use disorder and were up to 7 times more likely to have co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders compared to those without trauma exposure.
Stigma and Addiction
The World Health Organization ranks substance dependence as the most stigmatised health condition globally.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, publicly funded Alcohol and Other Drug treatment services provided treatment to 139,295 Australians in 2019-20. Of these, 37.5% were under the age of 30.
In reality, we know there are many more young people struggling with alcohol and drug use who are not actively receiving help, bringing high levels of stress and anguish to both individuals and their families.
So why don’t more young people seek help?
“Misunderstanding often leads to stigma and judgement towards youth struggling with harmful alcohol and drug use,” said Sir David Martin Foundation General Manager, Helen Connealy.
“The resulting shame can prevent many young people and their families from talking about the problem openly and seeking the medical and emotional support they need.
“Instead of shaming young people who struggle with drug and alcohol use, we should try to approach them with compassion, empathy and better access to support and holistic youth-specific treatment programs, such as Triple Care Farm.”
The social impact of treatment sees more families reunited and more young people connected with culture, education and employment.
Our Don’t Judge Me campaign is designed as a conversation starter to get more people talking openly about youth addiction. But conversations should never be one way! Do you have something to say? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your story, comment or even just a link to some useful content that you’d like to share. Don’t worry, any information you provide can remain completely confidential.