Keep calm and talk to your teenagers

It can be difficult to talk to teenagers about the harm caused by cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. 

If you are a parent or carer and are having trouble discussing this with your teenagers, have a look at the Keep Calm and Talk website for:

  • advice on starting the conversation
  • facts on smoking, drinking and drugs
  • information about where to get support locally.

Starting the conversation

  • Choose your moment
  • Recognise young people's knowledge and understanding
  • Keep it real
  • It's not what you say, it's how you say it

If you're feeling tongue-tied, try a few conversation starters:

  • ‘I need you to help me understand what’s going on as I’m worried.’
  • ‘Can you try and tell me what’s going on?’
  • ‘Would you know what to do if you or your friend has taken something and seems unwell?’

Facts on smoking, drinking and drugs

Brighton & Hove has some of the highest rates of cannabis use, smoking and alcohol consumption among young people in the country. According to the What about YOUth survey from 2015:

  • 15% of 15 year olds in Brighton & Hove currently smoke, which is the highest rate in England.
  • Almost a quarter (24%) have tried smoking cannabis and 14% have smoked cannabis within the last month - the highest rates in the country.
  • 11% of 15 year olds drink at least once a week, the joint third highest rate in England.
  • Engaging in harmful behaviours can have knock-on consequences now and in later life, with some young people at risk of developing severe and enduring substance misuse problems that continue into adulthood. 

Find out more and get support locally

Developed alongside YMCA Right Here, we've put together advice, support and information for parents and carers to use to help start the conversation and to help challenge widespread misinformation and myths.

Keep Calm and Talk came from listening to the views, experiences and needs of parents and carer’s and their young people. It aims to encourage thoughtful conversations, increase knowledge and understanding and to support changes in behaviours.

To access more local information and support to have your own conversations, visit the Where to Go For website.

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