The Start Talking About Coping & Drugs (STACD) Youth Transition Project was a 3-year (February 2014 – January 2017) initiative that was implemented across Simcoe County for youth between 12 – 24 years old. The project was funded by Health Canada’s Drug Strategy Community Initiatives Fund and operated out of Canadian Mental Health Association, Simcoe County Branch.
Together, these objectives contribute to ensuring that youth are “STACD” (pronounced stacked) with supports and resources. This project is about building resources within and around the individual so that they are prepared for these stressful transitions and do not turn to abusing illicit drugs to manage this stress.
Through peer to peer mentoring the project developed tools and practices to distribute to children, youth, and young adults with ways to cope with transition stressors and to deal with pressures to abuse illicit and prescription drugs. Transition stressors may include isolation, changes in social networks, bullying, trauma, stigma, substance misuse, anxiety and other mental health difficulties, financial pressures, and many others.
Youth Leaders will share their tools and practices with their peers in the hopes that youth will make healthier lifestyle choices for coping with these stressors during transition periods. Transition periods include transitioning into high school, transitioning into postsecondary education, and transitioning into the work force or other life choices/activities.
The key project activities can be broken down into three phases: