This project has now reached its completion date.

We are thankful for everyone who supported this project.

project overview.

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.


  • To engage youth so that they may Start Talking About the struggles they face during life transitions and how they deal with these struggles
  • To foster Coping proficiency and resiliency so that youth are prepared for the stress associated with life transitions
  • To assist youth with developing additional resources and skills to avoid illicit and prescription Drugs

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.

project phases.

The key project activities can be broken down into three phases:

  • Recruiting and training Youth Leaders to conduct applied research on youth who are going through transition periods; These Youth Leaders will conduct research to determine the stressors and coping mechanisms that are prominent through the transition periods
  • Youth Leaders will use the lessons learned from phase 1 to develop and refine activities and tools that will support youth during these transition periods
  • Youth Leaders will implement the activities and tools to their peers, parents, and community members; STACD Project Staff will assist Youth Leaders in evaluating project outcomes.
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