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The National Youth Health Programme is a partnership between NYCI, the Health Service Executive and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

We are please to announce publication of a new edition of our Support Pack for Dealing with the Drugs Issue in Out-of-School Settings.
Support Manual cover
In recent years, significant developments have taken place with regard to drug prevention across the statutory, community and voluntary sectors.
Following the publication of the second Support Pack in 2003, we saw the review of the National Drugs Strategy 2001-2008 and the subsequent publication of an interim Drugs strategy for 2009-2016. This current strategy is an interim strategy until the publication of abroader Substance Misuse Strategy which is envisaged to include alcohol.
To take account of these developments, I am delighted to introduce this revised edition of the Support Manual for Dealing with Substance Use Issues in the Out of School Sector. This manual takes consideration
of recent policy developments both in the area of Substance Misuse and the Youth Work Sector.
We have endeavoured to put together a resource manual which is practical, informative and comprehensive. This manual offers a practical framework that identifies youth organisations as having a critical role in addressing substance use issues with young people in 3 areas:
  • Developing Policies procedures and guidelines for Substance Use issues in youth organisations
  • Prevention of Substance Use in youth organisations
  • Information on Intervention approaches for youth organisations



Food for thought conference poster

A Conference for youth workers exploring Food, Health and Wellbeing

17th October, Camden Court Hotel

10:00 – 16:30pm


This event will provide the opportunity for youth workers to reflect on their position in promoting the positive role between food, health and wellbeing. The event will explore practical strategies for workers to assess and respond to the food needs of young people. Inputs from keynote speakers will be followed by practical workshops hosted throughout the day by a number of key professionals working in the field.




10.30-11.30: Introduction to event and guest speaker/s

11.45- 13.15: Series of workshops (15 participants to each workshop)

13.15-14.15: Lunch

14.15-15.30: Series of workshops

15.30-16.30 Wrap up and close


Workshop 1

Food Projects and Young People

Facilitator: Georgina Buffini – Healthy Food for All


  1. Participants will have a better an understanding of what a Community Food Initiative (CFI) is and how they could relate to young people/youth organisations
  2. An understanding of the steps to setting one up in their own organisation


Workshop 2

Fat Free - Sugar Free - Guilt Free?  : How food marketing influences what we eat everyday

Facilitator: Edel Mc Namara, Community Dietician HSE Dublin North East.


  1. Participants will understand how food marketing practices influence our food intake
  1. Participants will be empowered to help others make healthier food choices in an increasingly complex consumer environment


Workshop 3

Healthy Eating Active Living

Facilitators: Eimear Flannery, Janis Morrissey – Irish Heart Foundation


  1. Participants  will have improved knowledge around healthy eating and active living
  2. Participants will have a good understanding of the processes and skills necessary to create a healthy eating, active living environment

Workshop 4

Workshop Title: “Eating for mental health: the challenges and opportunities”

Facilitator: Helen Corrigan .

  1. Participants will be able to identify how food can positively support mental health
  2. Participants will be able to identify strategies to work around barriers to healthy eating



The education initiative was developed by the HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme (HSE CPP) and the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) to encourage teenagers to make healthy, responsible decisions about relationships and sexual health.

The initiative, which includes a website and a set of 16 lesson plans, were disseminated to youth work settings nationwide and were accompanied by training by the NYCI.

An evaluation has been commissioned to establish how the initiative is working for young people and for youth workers and a research team from Millward Brown Lansdowne, an independent market research company, is carrying out the evaluation.

The research team will be asking the young people in your youth work group and youth workers for their views on the education initiative, using an on-line data gathering mechanism called IDEABLOG. The evaluation will take place over at ten week period beginning in September 2012.

More info:

Information Flyer (pdf)

Further Information for Youthworkers

If you are interested in taking part please register your interest on

The National Health Programme welcomes the publication of Suicide Prevention in the Community,  A practical Guide.

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch,
a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest
compliment, or the smallest act of caring: all of which
have the potential to turn a life around."

You can download this resource here:

Suicide Prevention - A Practical Guide (PDF)

In May 2010 the National Youth Council of Ireland and the Irish Heart Foundation unveiled a new resource entitled ‘Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL)’ to tackle the escalating problems of poor nutrition and declining levels of physical activity amongst Irish teenagers.

Download the PDF here

Áine Brady, Minister for Older People and Health Promotion launched the publication while Dr. Colette Kelly, Survey Manager for HSBC Study in Ireland & Public Health Nutritionist, presented at the event. The aim of HEAL is to equip those working with children and young people with the skills necessary to promote healthier living among these age groups by providing guidance on health education, good eating, active living and health policies. “Promoting the physical health and well being of young people has always been a key component of youth work. With the alarming levels of obesity reported in Ireland in recent years, youth workers must play a part in assisting young people in reflecting on their diet and making healthier choices.

This new publication challenges youth organisations to influence healthy eating habits and suggests healthy food options for young people. We hope it will be of real benefit to anyone working with young people who are committed to providing healthy activities and choices for young people. In turn the young people will benefit from developing healthy behaviours which will serve them well throughout their lives,” commented Kevin O’Hagan, Senior Health Promotion Officer for the National Youth Health Programme in NYCI.

Michael O’Shea, Chief Executive of the Irish Heart Foundation stated: “Heart attacks and stroke may seem remote from young people’s lives, but the reality is that key risk factors such as high blood pressure and raised cholesterol, begin in childhood and develop over the life-course. This is why it is important to educate young people about healthy behaviours that will influence these risk factors, such as encouraging regular physical activity and healthy eating. Unfortunately, research shows that one in five Irish 5-17 year olds is overweight or obese which makes the development of resources like the new Healthy Eating Active Living guidelines even more urgent in encouraging healthy lifestyles for young people in Ireland.”