Project: Acting Through Art – Capacity Strengthening Training #4 on Mental Health and Substance Use among Adolescents.

As part of the “Acting Through Art” project in Georgia, Prevention for Progress and the World Federation Against Drugs (WFDA) organise Capacity Strengthening Training Seminars. The project aims to support the state agencies responsible for the primary and secondary prevention of vulnerable adolescents. Besides providing capacity-strengthening training seminars, art therapy sessions are provided to the final beneficiaries.

On June 30th, the fourth Capacity Strengthening Training was held. With the keynote speaker, Monica Barzanti, the seminar focused on the correlation between Mental Health and Substance Use among Adolescents. As mental health and substance use in adolescents is an emerging issue and the number of adolescents with poor mental health is increasing. She shared the impact Mental Health issues can have and that this has to be addressed in an early stage. Simultaneously, she highlighted the increase in Cannabis use among adolescents and a linkage to a deterioration of their mental health. The earlier the use, the higher the likability to develop depression or psychosis as the adolescent brain is developing. Substance use is considered risk-taking behaviour and can be an unhelpful strategy to cope with emotional, family, or relational difficulties, leading to a severe impact on an adolescent’s mental and physical well-being. Additionally, she shared the study from the Pompidou group on Children with Parents who use drugs, as these children are a vulnerable and often unsees group. In this case, service providers need training and stronger coordination between the different services are needed to address the problem in a holistic approach and care for the well-being of the whole family.

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