A tradition of healthy habits
2017-12-01 | By ISH
First published in ACCESS Winter 2017 magazine
At ISH we educate students to make decisions based on evidence. We encourage them to question information and look for the facts.
When most people arrive the Netherlands, they alreadyhave ideas about what they are going to encounter. Some expectations are based on accurate informa- tion, and some are misconceptions. One of the most common misconceptions is that cannabis is legal here, which it is not. Dutch drug laws can be confus- ing, especially to outsiders.
Encouraging safe, healthy decisions
At ISH we educate students to make decisions based on evidence. We encourage them to question infor- mation and look for the facts. Students should be successful in all areas of their lives, inside and out- side of school. That’s why every student participates in the FlourISH Programme: our social, emotional, and health course designed to promote overall well-being.
As part of the FlourISH programme, we host a pre- vention specialist from the non-profit organisation Free from Chemical Dependency (FCD). FCD encour- ages a social norms approach to prevention. Teenagers are more likely to engage in a behaviour if they think that everyone else is doing it. Often students falsely believe “everyone is drinking” when, in fact, most are not. The social norms approach helps student to understand that health, not risky behaviour, is the norm. We surveyed all secondary students anonymously to learn about their use of alcohol and other substances. It came as no surprise that students at the ISH have a lower rate of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use compared to the European and Dutch averages.
During the FCD week all students had the opportunityto attend a talk with the prevention specialist.
The specialist provided facts about substance misuse and tips on how to deal with peer influence. Older students went to small group workshops and partici- pated in discussions. By maintaining open dialogue with students, we can encourage healthy attitudes.
Parents and prevention
Parents were invited to an evening with the FCD prevention specialist. A diverse range of topics were explored, from how to talk to your child about drugs to what age you should let your child try alcohol. The key message was talk with your children openly about the risks of substance abuse and alcohol.
The FCD week empowered staff, students, and parents with information to continue the ISH tradition of healthy habits.