Youth substance use is often viewed as a simple choice. And the preferred and appropriate interventions for behaviours that are simple choices are equally simple: education and consequences. If they only knew… if the consequences were just high enough… all this damage, heartache and tragedy could be avoided.
Decades of convincing research paints a much more-complex picture. The evidence leads us to look at substance use episodes as emerging from a unique combination of ever-changing biological, psychological, spiritual and social needs. There is especially strong evidence that substance use needs can be influenced by current and historical challenges… such as relationship rupture, loss, or trauma.
While it might seem logical, then, to try to simply remove these challenges… one could say they are part of every life… even of every good life. It is a fact that everything we have, we will at some point lose. Suddenly or gradually, temporarily or permanently… in every relationship, gain and contentment, we face the possibility of rupture, loss and trauma.
What helps us to still function and even thrive in the face of these inevitable hardships? More than a half-century of research has shown that just three factors not only allow individuals to bounce back, but also to grow stronger through the process of navigating challenges.
At Impact, rather than focusing on inevitable risk factors that we will all be significantly challenged by, we focus on building three reliable and evidence-based resiliency factors that are protective no matter the level of risk. These three factors form the core of all Impact’s work. They are:
- Caring, connected relationships
- Opportunities to participate and contribute
- Developing high self-expectations
Our Vision: A community that recognizes and responds to youth substance use needs as a complex issue best addressed through conditions that allow for resiliency.
From this vision and the three resiliency factors comes Impact’s mission:
Our Mission: Collaborating with the community, families and young people to cultivate caring, connected opportunities for sharing the personal gifts that help us and others confidently navigate a society where substance use is common.