PALM is a residential program for young people aged 14-18 with serious alcohol, or other drug-related difficulties. The up to three-month program (with up to twelve months continuing care) aims to help young people to build the skills to manage their own lives effectively.
The rationale behind PALM is that it is not enough to simply aim to reduce or eliminate drug use. Drug use is tied to other aspects of people’s lives – so sorting out the drug use itself is ineffective if the other areas that contribute to problematic drug use are not dealt with. A holistic perspective is necessary to make sure any change in a person’s drug use is positive and sustainable. As a result, each program addresses issues such as employment, training, relationship building, mood management, personal growth and development, and teaches relapse prevention skills.
PALM provides a safe, homely environment within which young people are supported through this difficult journey. The program addresses the needs of young people at all levels including personal, social, vocational or educational, living skills and sport and recreation.
PALM is based on leading research conducted in partnership with the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC). Each young person has an individual plan tailored to his or her particular needs based on a thorough assessment. Young people are offered extensive group work, individual counselling, family therapy, living skills and vocational/educational help.
After completing the Ted Noffs Foundation PALM program, young people have shown significantly reduced criminal activity, reduced harmful drug use, increased involvement in training and employment, increased stability in their accommodation and better family relations.
Recent findings from a three-month post-treatment study of the effectiveness of PALM show:
- Significant reductions in averaged frequency of cannabis use (a decrease from 22 days per month to 9), alcohol use (a decrease from 10 days per month to 5), amphetamine-type stimulant use (a decrease from 10 days per month to 2), and opioid use (a decrease from 10 days per month to 2).
- Significant reductions in the severity of dependence and in the percentage of young people reporting injecting drug use (from 34% to 20%).
- A significant decrease in the average number of arrests in the previous three months (from 2 to 1) and significant reductions in the percentage of young people reporting involvement in property crime (from 41% to 18%) and crime against persons (from 32% to 14%).
- Significant improvements in mental health, including those measured using the Brief Symptom Inventory (depression, anxiety, hostility, and psychoticism) and the Psychological Well-Being Scale (such as suicidal ideation – from 52% of residents pre-treatment to 18% post-treatment)
- A significant improvement in family functioning, as measured by the Family Assessment Device.
These findings indicate that PALM involvement results in positive outcomes across a number of domains for young people with substance use and related difficulties.
The residents themselves rate PALM the following way:
88.5% of clients reported that if they needed help again, they would contact the Ted Noffs Foundation
93.7% of clients reported that if a friend were in similar need of help, they would tell them of the PALM program
89.1% of clients reported that PALM helped them deal with their problems
90.8% of clients reported feeling more confident in achieving their goals after their time at PALM
86.9% of clients rated the counselling they received as good or excellent
70.1% of clients rated the groups at PALM as good or excellent
83.5% of clients rated the vocational/educational component of the program as good or excellent