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Anti underage drinking message hits home

Geelong parents are re-thinking their attitudes to underage drinking following a successful video campaign developed by young people.

“I need you to say no” is the simple yet powerful message from young people to parents in a video aimed at reducing the provision of alcohol to under-18s.

Developed by Meli as part of a Communities That Care (CTC) Youth Advisory Group (YAG) project and funded by Barwon Health, “I Need You to Say No” began as an educational project in 2022 and was rolled out throughout the Geelong region in July-August 2023.

Communities that Care co-ordinator Louise McDonald said the project was based on National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines.

“This initiative aims to optimise adolescent development by increasing awareness for parents of the harms of providing alcohol to young people and helping communities to work together to prevent young people from drinking alcohol before they turn 18,” Louise said.

The Youth Advisory Group received support from the WA Mental Health Commission to redevelop the concept with five young people appearing in the video urging parents to say no to giving alcohol to underage teens.

The video was played at Village Cinemas and on social media across a four-week period, supported by a series of posters and web-based educational resources.

The Barwon Health – Health Promotion unit co-ordinated evaluation of the project and a survey was developed which was linked to the campaign page on the Meli website.

There were 86 responses to the survey with key results including:

  • 92 per cent believe that underage drinking is a problem in the community;
  • 88 per cent “‘strongly agree” that parents and carers have a role to play in reducing the risk of teenagers experiencing alcohol related harm;
  • 71 % said the campaign had increased their knowledge/understanding of underage drinking; and
  • 77 % said they were ‘very likely” to implement the message.

Respondents also provided feedback about the campaign including:

“A must-see video! Educational and provides fantastic information to the viewer. Would recommend to high school students and parents.”

“Great use of young people’s voices to deliver a clear and succinct message – very impactful!“

“I think the campaign will do a great job of not only making a point to parents but to also convey that we are saying know for our child’s well-being and not just to be a stick in the mud.  Thank you and I will be passing this around!”

“I think using the common things kids say to their parents – you did it when you were my age, you’re ruining my life – is really powerful and makes the message relatable. It makes it ok to set boundaries despite the protest.”

Watch the video and learn more about the NHMRC guidelines at ‘I need you to say no’ campaign | Meli

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