The Harmony Program is Garda vetted through the Cork Education Training Board (ETB).
Since its inception in 2009, The Harmony Program has been delivering drug & alcohol, education & prevention workshops to youth organisations around Ireland such as Foróige, Youthreach, CTC (Community Training Centres) and Garda Youth Diversion Projects. Since 2014, it has now delivered a multiple of full-day, one and two hour workshops to over 50 post-primary secondary schools around the country.
The workshops can be delivered over a full day,
2 hour Safe From Harm talk and presentation or
1 hour Innervision talk and presentation.
Please see details below.
“This well facilitated, distinctive, interactive drug and alcohol related programme was warmly received by students and is a very meaningful and significant educational addition to any health education programme.” – Kevin Barragry (Transition Year Co-ordinator, Presentation Secondary School, Kilkenny).
Full day workshops
The morning workshops The morning sessions involve contextualising the underlying causes of drug/alcohol misuse through the music, lyrics and music videos of music artists who have written about or been through the addiction process. The evidence students discover is supported by the theories of the public health biopsychosocial model, The Drug Triangle (epidemiological) and the impacts of substance misuse on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Through the morning workshops students:
- Gain a knowledge of the underlying causes that drive substance misuse/alcoholism,
- Appreciate the link between mental health and substance misuse – dual diagnosis,
- Identify if they are at risk to a future substance misuse issue,
- Understand the disastrous effects of smoking cannabis/marijuana,
- Recognise the short and long term impact that alcohol has on the developing teenage brain,
- Learn techniques to combat peer pressure around drug/alcohol use.
The afternoon workshops
An experiential, creative writing workshop allows students to ‘walk in the shoes’ of someone coping with drug or alcohol addiction by writing and performing a rap/poem/song in class. Built on the learning of the morning workshops, the patterns, causes and effects (epidemiology) of substance misuse are ‘given a voice’ by students, deepening their understanding of drug/alcohol misuse and facilitating them to:
- Recognise signs and personal hazards to misusing drugs or alcohol,
- Contextualise the underlying causes of why some individuals self-medicate with alcohol or substances to mask painful emotions,
- Build empathy towards individuals coping with alcoholism / drug addiction,
- Become aware of the devastating, long term effects of a life with substance misuse,
- Appreciate that supports are available and people can recover.
These rap/poem/songs can later be typed, printed and laminated – with The Harmony Program logo, by the students as an educational keepsake and added to their portfolio’s.
Mental health, building resilience and natural highs
Throughout the morning workshops students will have become aware of the importance of:
- Continuing in further education/trade/skills,
- Seeking support to deal with childhood trauma, emotional or mental issues,
to offset substance misuse.
Other resilience measures and natural highs include:
- The importance of sport & exercise in building physical health, self-esteem and emotional wellbeing,
- Creating self-expression through; music, singing, writing, drawing/painting or dance,
- Using music as a therapy to cope with stress, anxiety and other challenging emotions,
- Creating your own space and world through hobbies and pastimes.
“My overall experience of The Harmony Program was brilliant. It changed my views on drugs and alcohol and what it can do to your life. It was life changing”. –Student Niamh, St, Declan’s College, Co. Waterford.
Safe From Harm – two hour talk & presentation
The 2-hour talk and presentation is an abbreviated version of the day long workshop, minus the creative writing rap/poem/song workshop.
The talks also include music videos, lyrical analysis of the raps and songs and include an understanding of:
External environmental impacts on substance misuse:
- Community, culture & society,
- Peer pressure,
- Early school leavers,
Internal environmental impacts on substance misuse:
- Family and personal background & history,
- Current family use or misuse of substances,
- Genetics, age, sex & mental health.
Understanding the impacts of smoking cannabis.
Building resilience and support structures:
- The importance of education,
- Sport/exercise: Positive mental health,
- Identifying personal misuse issue,
- Overcoming the stigma of addiction,
- How to access support structures.
Innervison – one hour talk & presentation
Through the public health biopsychosocial model, students will understand the reasons why some people misuse drugs and alcohol and identify if they are at risk.
The one hour talk and presentation will examine:
Genetics – Having parents with alcoholism, makes you four times more
likely than other children to become alcoholic. More than 60 percent
of alcoholics have family histories of alcoholism.
Social environment – Culture. Neighbours, peer pressure, family.
People who see heavy drinking as an important way to bond with
are more likely to abuse drugs.
Dual diagnosis – Mental illness & substance misuse:
Many addicted people also suffer from mental health
disorders, especially anxiety, depression or mood illnesses.
Childhood trauma – Abuse or neglect of children, persistent conflict in the family,
sexual abuse and other traumatic childhood
experiences can shape a child’s brain chemistry
and subsequent vulnerability to addiction.
Early use of drugs/alcohol –
The earlier a person begins to use drugs
the more likely they are
to progress to more serious abuse.
The talk includes the impact of weed (marijuana) on interpersonal relationships, the impact of alcohol on the developing teenage with public health videos, music videos and lyrical analysis.