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Substance and Support

Alcohol & Drugs : Training Module

Introduction: Alcohol & Drugs

This comprehensive, stand-alone course is designed to provide you with essential knowledge, skills, and techniques to recognise, understand, and assist individuals who may be struggling with substance use and addiction. With the increasing prevalence of substance abuse and its significant impact on mental health, it is crucial for people to be equipped with the necessary tools to provide support and care to those in need. As a participant in the Alcohol and Drugs Module, you will engage in interactive discussions, case studies, and practical exercises that will enhance your ability to recognise when someone is struggling with substance abuse and empower you to provide appropriate first aid interventions.

Throughout this course, you will gain insight into the complexities of substance use, abuse, and addiction, as well as the co-occurring mental health conditions that often accompany these issues. Learn to identify the signs and symptoms of substance abuse, understand the factors that contribute to addiction, and become familiar with a wide range of treatment options and resources. Whether you are a concerned friend, family member, or colleague, this Module will equip you with the knowledge and skills to play a critical role in promoting mental health and well-being for those affected by substance use and addiction.

What is: Alcohol & Drugs in the mental health context?

In the mental health context, alcohol and drugs refer to substances that can have a significant impact on an individual’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Alcohol and drugs can be classified into several categories, such as depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens, and can include both legal substances (e.g., alcohol, nicotine, and prescription medications) and illegal substances (e.g., marijuana, cocaine, and heroin).

The use and misuse of alcohol and drugs can have a wide range of effects on mental health: Prolonged or excessive use of alcohol or drugs can lead to the development of substance use disorders, characterised by a compulsive and harmful pattern of substance use that interferes with daily functioning and well-being; Individuals with mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety, may be more vulnerable to developing substance use disorders, and vice versa. This is often referred to as a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis, and addressing both the mental health disorder and the substance use disorder is crucial for effective treatment.

Alcohol and drug use can temporarily worsen the symptoms of existing mental health conditions or contribute to the development of new symptoms, such as increased anxiety, mood swings, or suicidal thoughts; Intoxication from alcohol or drugs can impair judgment, increase impulsivity, and lead to risky behaviours, which can have negative consequences for mental health and overall well-being; Regular use of certain substances can lead to physical and psychological dependence, and withdrawal symptoms can be challenging to manage and may exacerbate existing mental health issues.

In the mental health context, it is essential to recognise the complex relationship between alcohol and drug use and mental well-being. Treatment approaches for individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders often involve a combination of psychotherapy, medication, support groups, and lifestyle changes, tailored to address the unique needs and challenges of each person.

The Problem: Common attitudes towards Alcohol & Drug issues


Blaming the individual

Many people believe that substance use and addiction are the results of personal weakness or lack of self-control. This attitude places the responsibility solely on the individual, ignoring the complex interplay of biological, psychological, and environmental factors that contribute to addiction.


Some individuals tend to assume that all people who use substances are alike, often labelling them as "addicts" or "alcoholics" without acknowledging the unique circumstances and experiences of each person. This overgeneralisation can perpetuate harmful stereotypes and make it difficult for those struggling to seek help.

Minimising the problem

It is not uncommon for people to downplay the severity of substance use and addiction, claiming that it is "just a phase" or that the person can "snap out of it" if they try hard enough. This attitude can prevent individuals from recognising the seriousness of their situation and seeking professional help.

Associating substance use with criminality

Many people equate substance use and addiction with criminal behaviour, which can create an atmosphere of fear, judgment, and discrimination. This association can lead to further isolation for those struggling with substance use and may hinder their ability to access the support and resources they need.

Believing in the "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" mentality

Some individuals may hold the view that overcoming addiction is solely a matter of personal willpower, and that those who cannot quit are simply weak or lack determination. This perspective fails to recognise the complex nature of addiction and the need for comprehensive treatment and support.

Stigmatising mental health issues

Negative attitudes towards mental health conditions can exacerbate the stigma surrounding substance use and addiction. People may believe that those with co-occurring mental health disorders are "crazy" or "dangerous," leading to further marginalisation and making it even more difficult for individuals to access appropriate care and support.

Negative & damaging attitudes towards Alcohol & Drugs in the Mental Health context are common: There's something you can do for yourself, your friends, your family and your colleagues...

Alcohol & Drugs: Why should you undertake this training?

By participating in this stand-alone module, you will gain valuable insight into the intricacies of the interplay between Alcohol & Drugs and mental health issues and develop a deeper understanding of the support systems that can contribute to the well-being of individuals experiencing mental health challenges. This course will enable you to  develop the confidence and competence to approach individuals who may be at risk, offer compassionate assistance, and guide them toward professional help when necessary.


Increased awareness

This module educates participants about the prevalence of substance use disorders and their impact on mental health, fostering a better understanding of the issues faced by individuals affected by these conditions

Understanding addiction

The course provides comprehensive information on the complex nature of addiction, helping participants recognise the biological, psychological, and environmental factors that contribute to substance use and dependence

Identifying warning signs

Participants will learn to recognise the early signs and symptoms of substance abuse, enabling them to identify individuals who may be struggling and offer appropriate support

Improved communication skills

The module teaches participants effective communication techniques, enabling them to engage empathetically and nonjudgmentally with individuals experiencing substance-related issues

Crisis intervention

The course equips participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to respond to substance-related emergencies, such as overdoses, and provide life-saving assistance

Supporting recovery

Participants will learn about various treatment options and resources available for individuals seeking help, allowing them to provide informed guidance and support throughout the recovery process

Reducing stigma

By fostering understanding and empathy, the course challenges negative attitudes and stereotypes surrounding substance use and addiction, ultimately helping to reduce stigma and create a more supportive environment for those affected

Personal growth

Gaining knowledge and skills in this area can be personally fulfilling and may also prove beneficial in supporting friends, family members, or colleagues who may face substance use challenges

Community impact

Armed with the knowledge and skills acquired in this course, participants can help create more informed and empathetic communities that support individuals struggling with substance use disorders, ultimately promoting better mental health and well-being for all

The Good news: There is a training module which will enhance your understanding, and foster empathy and support for those experiencing mental health challenges

Three Hour Module: Alcohol & Drugs

The “Alcohol and Drugs” module is a comprehensive and enlightening course tailored to address the unique challenges faced by individuals struggling with substance use and addiction in our community. Participants will leave the course with the knowledge, skills, and empathy necessary to support friends, family members, and colleagues on their journey towards recovery. By engaging in this transformative learning experience, you’ll play a vital role in fostering a more informed and compassionate society, where everyone has the opportunity to lead healthier, happier lives.

Throughout this course, you’ll delve into the complex nature of addiction, learn to recognise early signs and symptoms of substance abuse, and develop effective communication techniques to engage with those in need. You’ll also gain insight into the available treatment options and resources, empowering you to guide individuals towards appropriate professional help. By choosing to participate in this module, you’re not only investing in your personal growth but also contributing to a more supportive and understanding community that can change lives for the better.

What does the “Alcohol & Drugs” Module Cover?


Understanding substance use and addiction

This area covers the complex nature of addiction, including the biological, psychological, and environmental factors that contribute to substance use and dependence. Participants will gain insight into how these factors interact and influence an individual's journey with addiction

Recognising signs and symptoms

The module teaches participants how to identify early warning signs and symptoms of substance abuse, enabling them to offer timely and appropriate support to those who may be struggling

Effective communication

Participants will learn and practice empathetic, nonjudgmental communication techniques, which are essential for engaging with individuals experiencing substance-related issues and providing support without causing further harm or alienation

Crisis intervention and safety

The course addresses how to respond to substance-related emergencies, such as overdose situations or acute intoxication, equipping participants with the skills needed to ensure safety and provide life-saving assistance when necessary

Supporting recovery and reducing stigma

This key area focuses on the importance of ongoing support throughout the recovery process and how participants can play a role in reducing stigma surrounding substance use and addiction.

Self-care and well-being for supporters

The module highlights the significance of self-care for both the individual in recovery and the caregiver, offering guidance on maintaining personal well-being while providing support to others

How does the "Alcohol & Drugs" module work?


The module takes 3 Hours,  providing a focussed and comprehensive learning experience.

Small Group Sizes

Classes, of 8-16, are kept small to facilitate personalised attention, encourage active participation, and foster a supportive learning environment.

Interactive Learning

The course features a mix of presentations, group discussions, case studies, videos, and role-playing exercises to ensure a practical, hands-on learning experience.


Instructors maintain a safe and confidential space for participants to share their experiences and ask questions without judgment.

Ready to find out more? Contact Us Today

Why Train with Green Ribbons?

Unraveling the Threads of Mental Well-being

Green Ribbons is dedicated to delivering high-quality Mental Health First Aid training in Scotland, empowering individuals to recognise mental health challenges, provide support, and foster a culture of empathy and understanding. By tying together knowledge, empathy, and resilience our accessible mental health training promotes understanding, reduces stigma, and enables individuals, businesses and communities to prioritise mental well-being. Everyone benefits from Mental Health Awareness Training

Our Experience
  • 30 Years working within the Mental Health sector
  • Experience across a range of Third-Sector Organisations
Our Specialties
  • Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid (SMHFA)
  • Tailored SMHFA Training
  • Individual Mental Health Awareness Modules
  • One-to-one Training & Coaching
Our Approach
  • Empathy & compassion
  • Inclusive
  • Evidence-based and up-to-date
Our Areas
  • Moray
  • Highland
  • Aberdeenshire
  • Aberdeen City
  • …across Scotland

07726 780800


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