Netstof is a national project based on municipal membership. The website is developed and driven by Center of Digital Youth Care (Center for Digital Pædagogik) and Rusmiddelcenter Slagelse Kommune
Young people in the age 15-24 seeking information and advice in regards of alcohol, weed and other drugs.
The purpose of Netstof is to provide safe and reliable counseling to young people who need help to solve the problems they may have in regards to alcohol, weed and other psychedelic drugs. Netstof.dk is the public Danish website for young people that offers free, constructive and completely anonymous counselling through digital mailboxes. You can either discuss issues with other young people in the forums or find more knowledge regarding alcohol, weed and other drugs in the website’s knowledgebank.
Netstof.dk works as an online supplement to the physical offers found in the Danish municipalities so that if a young person feels like and needs to talk to someone face-to-face, the website can help locate the right physical councillors.
Netstof has existed as a municipal online offer for young people since 2010, and it is supported through economic contributions from the participating municipalities and through continuous fund from, among others, The Danish National Board of Social Services and the Danish Health Authority. Today, it is driven jointly by the participating municipalities by hiring a project manager who’s in charge of maintaining the service.
Netstof offers counseling regarding alcohol and drugs from both adults and young people. Overall, you can use the website in two ways. First, you can seek counseling through the mail-function, where you can choose if you want the answer from a doctor, a psychologist, drug-experts or experts specialised in dealing with problems regarding drugs and alcohol-consumption in close family or friends. Second, you can use debate-forums about either alcohol, weed or other drugs where young people can ask other young people about these things and get reflective advice that might seem more relatable than if you got advice from a health professional. Furthermore, the website can also help locate places in your close vicinity with address, phone-number and e-mail-address that work with these sort of things.
The activities listed above requires the set-up of an e-mail- and forum-function so that young people can contact councillors and other young people online. Besides this, it also requires hiring a doctor, a psychologist and volunteers in the form of drug experts who are then educated in giving online counselling. The economical foundation is provided by the 32 municipalities who are participating in the Netstof-network. Furthermore, the offer is dependant on a pedagogical workforce who can secure a continuous, high-quality and professional counselling.
A relatively large amount of young people go to Netstof and participate in it. To this date, over 1000 questions has been sent to the mailbox, and each published question has an average of 420 visits. Furthermore, over 200 debates have been created, and each of these has an average of 1500 visits. Over 10.000 has visited the thread “Your first time”. Overall, Netstof had around 240.000 visitors in 2018 alone.
Netstof was last evaluated back in 2014 due to a larger grant from the Danish Ministry of Social Affairs who has supported the development of the offer. A larger evaluation of the website is expected in 2020.
As is the case with other online counselling-sites run by the Centre of Digital Youth Care, anonymisation of the young people has been shown to be a major benefit. Besides minimizing stigmatization otherwise faced in the real world, it also instills a greater feeling of being safe in the young person. This is especially true for young people who, for example, are so isolated and have problems regarding drugs or alcohol that they may feel shameful opening up and seeking help in the ‘real world’. These people usually feel more safe having their questions answered online before seeking counselling in the physical world.