Activity Introduction

Quick summary: This one-on-one session helps trusted adults start a conversation with a young person who may be struggling with substance use or abuse. Their use of substances may be causing the individual to display disengagement from school or community activities, aggressive or violent behaviours or be of sufficient concern that the young person reaches out for help, or a concerned adult wishes to raise the issue with them. The session will guide the facilitator through empathy-building, person-centred questioning and problem-solving techniques, referral avenues and building self-worth.

This session is not designed to replace professional help and is merely a starting point for attempting to initiate self-motivated help-seeking by the young person. This session should only be delivered with the young person’s consent and all efforts should be taken to respect their privacy and personal agency.

Learning intentions:

  • The young person will feel acknowledged and supported
  • The young person will raise their awareness of underlying personal issues or external circumstances that may be contributing to their substance use
  • The young person will consider the long-term and short-term consequences of their substance use
  • The young person will develop strategies for managing their feelings in a range of ways
  • The young person will be aware of avenues for help-seeking and professional support.

21st century skills: 

 CommunicatingEmpathy Problem FindingProblem Solving

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Years 9 & 10 Health and Physical Education:

  • Plan, rehearse and evaluate options (including CPR and first aid) for managing situations where their own or others’ health, safety and wellbeing may be at short or long term risk (ACPPS091)
  • Propose, practise and evaluate responses in situations where external influences may impact on their ability to make healthy and safe choices (ACPPS092)

Syllabus outcomes: PDHPE5.2, PDHPE5.3, PDHPE5.6, PDHPE5.7, PDHPE5.8, PDHPE5.11, PDHPE5.12, PDHPE5.15, PDHPE5.16

General capabilities: Personal and Social Capability

Relevant parts of Years 9 & 10 achievement standards: Students apply decision-making and problem-solving skills when taking action to enhance their own and others’ health, safety and wellbeing.

Topic: Health & Wellbeing

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work STOP the Coward Punch: Supporting Resources.

Time required: 60+ mins.

Facilitator role: This session is designed to support trusted and caring adults in an existing relationship with the young person, such as parents/caregivers, teachers, coaches, church leaders, youth workers, school wellbeing staff, community elders or leaders.

Resources required:

Related online course: Strategies for Dealing with Aggressive and Violent Behaviours

Keywords: 1 on 1, substance, use, abuse, alcohol, drugs, counselling, support, wellbeing, empathy

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Substances And Me - Facilitator Guide

Learning intentions: The young person will...

  • ... feel acknowledged and supported
  • ... raise their awareness of underlying personal issues or external circumstances that may be contributing to their substance use
  • ... consider the long-term and short-term consequences of their substance use
  • ... develop healthier habits and strategies for managing their feelings and behaviours
  • ... be aware of avenues for help-seeking and professional support.

Success criteria: The young person can…

  • ... reach out for help if and when they need it
  • ... better understand why they use substances
  • ... feel they are able to make alternative choices and have knowledge of what these alternatives are.

Facilitator notes:

The STOP the Coward Punch campaign
STOP the Coward Punch by Danny Green aims to eliminate the coward punch from society and save lives in the process. Since 2000, over 172 Australians have been killed by a coward punch and many more

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Student Worksheet

Substances And Me Worksheet

Positive And Negative Feelings Chart

Some people and activities make us feel pretty great. Others not so much. Sometimes we are able to avoid the people and activities that make us feel bad and sometimes we can't. What we can always try to do though, is make more time for the activities and people who make us feel good. Spend some time observing yourself over the next little while and thinking about when you feel good and when you don't feel so good. Knowing is half the battle. If you're struggling to feel good about the activities or people you used to enjoy, you may need to speak to a therapist or GP about why that might be happening. 

Activities that feel good People I feel good around Activities that feel bad People I feel bad around
e.g. basketball, hip hop dancing, knitting, helping my grandma e.g. my grandma, my mate Benny, my cat, my basketball team e.g. stealing, lying, doing the dishes, going to maths class e.g. my uncle, the wo
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