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Need help?

We provide free, confidential support.
Mon - Fri, 9am - 8pm
1800 458 685
Worried about someone you care about? NEED HELP NOW?

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Alternatively you can contact us by:
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Back to Articles

Cooking can seem a really difficult task but it can also be really fun and safe you money. These recipes will help you cook cheap, delicious, healthy meals quickly. 

You might also find this article on smart shopping really useful!

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Looking at the pros and cons of your decisions might help you decide on what you really want to do.

What are the good things about doing something and what are the not so good things. How will what you do affect your future and is that something you want?

Use this helpful Decisional Balance table to help you see things more clearly and make the best decisions for you.

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Use this Goals and Limits contract to understand where you're at and help you make the best decisions for yourself.

Goals and Limits - Amount and frequency
How much do I want to use? How do I want to use?

Goals and Limits - Settings and Triggers
Where will I use and with whom? What are the settings or emotional triggers I should avoid?

If you want to know more about goals and limits give YoDAA a call on 1800 458 685.


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Shopping at the supermarket might seem like a big expense, but it shouldn’t be.

  • Make a list before you go and stick with it. Think of all the meals you want to cook during the week, write down the ingredients you’ll need and avoid buying stuff that’s not on your list. 
  • Buy your fruit and vegetables in smaller quantities so they don’t go off. Sometimes it’s cheaper to buy fruit and vegetables from a grocer rather than a supermarket. 
  • Meat from a butcher is cheaper and better quality and it’s easier to buy the right quantity. 200grams of meat is a serving, so if you’re cooking for four people, 200g x 4 = 800 grams of meat.
  • Home brand products are cheaper and just as good as any other, as are products on special. Compare prices and sizes. 
  • ALDI is often cheaper than Coles or Woolworths.
  • The Reject Shop and $2 shops are great for buying toiletries, cleaning products, utensils and more for a cheaper price. 
  • Avoid shopping when hungry, you’ll end up buying quick and convenient meals that cost more. 
  • Cook extra so that you have leftovers! If you don’t want to eat it the next day you can always freeze it for the next time you can’t be bothered cooking.
Back to Media

Media Release
17 November 2013

First Statewide Youth Census reveals concerning gender gap and urgent need for services for young women

Melbourne, Sunday, November 17, 2013: Girls and young women are experiencing a higher rate of abuse and neglect, lack of education and employment, poor mental health and quality of life than young men, contributing to harmful drug and alcohol use, according to the Statewide Youth  Census*.

Coordinated by Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS), the Census looked at the social factors that may be contributing to alcohol and other drug (AoD) use of young people in Victorian treatment services.

Young women accessing AoD services reported significantly higher levels of emotional distress and sexual abuse, physical abuse and psychological maltreatment than younger males.

The census revealed:
  • 77 per cent of girls and young women in services have been a victim of abuse, neglect or violence, in comparison to 55 per cent of boys.
  • 67 per cent of girls and young women in AOD services have current mental health problems, in comparison to 52 per cent of boys.
  • 61 per cent of young women have self-harmed, in comparison to 31 per cent of young males.
  • Young women in AOD services were also more likely to have been involved in child protection, suggesting involvement in child protection may be predictive of ongoing involvement in AOD services.
  • Young women’s drug use was more severe. 28 per cent of girls and young women have ever injected drugs, in comparison to 19 per cent of boys.

Kathryn Daley, Research and Practice Development Consultant at YSAS, who was involved in the Statewide Youth Census and also undertook the first in-depth qualitative report in the state to look at gender differences in young people’s drug use, said the research revealed an urgent need for services and the community to adapt to better meet the needs of young women.

“Young women are not using drugs for the high or recreational reasons. They are more likely to be using drugs to numb their feelings and often referred to drugs as a way to cope and stop making what they saw as worse choices, like self-harm or suicide. Boys, on the other hand, use drugs to be socially accepted in their peer circle. Drug use was often tied to their idea of what it meant to be a man.

“Many young women had experienced sexual abuse and spoke of telling a family member, like their mother, only to be abandoned. The abandonment factor was often more harmful than the sexual abuse and was critical in the connection between sexual abuse and substance abuse.

“Interestingly, almost all the women interviewed had no peer support or female friends, suggesting support groups for women could be an effective way to encourage early intervention.”

In response to the Census findings YSAS is developing recommendations for youth AOD services and State Government consideration to better meet the needs of young women.

Recommendations include:
  • Creating dedicated, female friendly spaces within services to encourage young women to seek support.Further investment in trauma-focused therapeutic interventions tailored to the needs of young women.
  • Enhance screening and assessment of young women.
  • Actively target young women earlier in their drug use to reach them prior to the point of severe use and vulnerability.

The Census indicated the primary drug of concern for young people in services was cannabis (37 per cent), followed by methamphetamine (26 per cent), alcohol (22 per cent) and heroin (4.5 per cent).

Other social factors young people reported to have experienced, which may be contributing to alcohol and drug use, included:
  • 32 per cent were currently disconnected from their family. The degree of family conflict was extremely high for all young people accessing AoD services.
  • 46 per cent reported having no meaningful daily activity such as education and employment.
  • 25 per cent have current housing problems.
  • 42 per cent have self-harmed.
  • 26 per cent have attempted suicide.
  • 62 per cent have experienced some form of neglect, abuse or violence.

Paul Bird, CEO of YSAS, said the Statewide Youth Census is a timely reminder that substance misuse and dependence are the most prevalent and potentially harmful of all complex issues facing our most vulnerable young Victorians.

“As the Census shows, substance use issues are typically symptomatic of underlying mental health problems and trauma stemming from a childhood of family violence, assault and sexual abuse.

“Although the level of use of drugs like heroin has decreased, the sharp rise in poly drug use, in particular, methamphetamine means that the demand on our services continues to increase.”

Young people supported by YSAS are assisted by funds raised from FebFast 2014, which launches today.  FebFast challenges Australians to take a 28 day break from alcohol, sugar, caffeine or digital overload, to raise funds for support services for youth addiction.

For more information visit and


*1000 surveys were completed by youth AoD workers from 36 service providers across Victoria, estimated to be 84% of all young people in youth AOD treatment services at the time of the census.

The Statewide Youth Census report is available on request. For media interview requests and further information, please contact:

Josh Comer
Marketing Manager
TEL +61 3 8412 8522

About YSAS

Youth Support + Advocacy Service (YSAS) is a leading youth health not-for-profit agency that enables highly vulnerable and high risk young people, or those at risk of becoming so, with substance dependence and misuse, mental illness and social disconnection, to take control of their health and wellbeing. Visit

Download PDF here

No Wrong Door

No Wrong Door is an initiative supporting young people (aged 10 to 25 years) to help them find the support that they require. No Wrong Door services and schools commit to actively engaging young people, ensuring that each young person receives appropriate and adequate support for their needs, regardless of whatever door or service they walk through.

Back to Publications
Date Posted Oct 26, 2013

Monographs and Reports


Substance misuse and dependence is the most prevalent and potentially harmful of all complex issues faced by our most vulnerable and at risk young Victorians. Substance use issues are typically symptomatic of underlying mental health problems and trauma stemming from a childhood of family violence, assault and sexual abuse.

Since it was established fourteen years ago as Victoria’s state-wide youth alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment service, the Youth Support + Advocacy Service (YSAS) in partnership with Commonwealth and Victorian Governments, has assisted over 20,000 young Victorians, and their families, to address problems associated with substance abuse or dependence.

The YSAS snapshot outlines the findings of an internal census carried out in September 2012 with 371 young people currently supported by YSAS. Five key findings are articulated:

  •    1. Extremely high levels of harmful substance use in the critical developmental period of adolescence
  •    2. Multiple concurrent problems underlie substance misuse
  •    3. Young women face greater challenges
  •    4. Increase in young people from African backgrounds with alcohol abuse
  •    5. Only 1 in 8 YSAS clients participate fully in education or employment

Download snapshot here


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