At HAGA we have been at the forefront of developing digital approaches to alcohol assessment and treatment. We have developed a range of online interventions to meet the needs of people who want to rethink their relationship with alcohol.
It has been an immensely busy time at HAGA and, as some of you may have noticed, there appears to be a lot of change. I wanted you, our friends, supporters and stakeholders, to know what has been happening and to introduce you to some new faces.
We developed and launched DontBottleItUp (DBIU) as a full digital Identification and Brief Advice (IBA) in 2011. At this time it was the first of its kind to provide a full service for digital IBA and local referral. DBIU uses the AUDIT tool, developed and validated by the World Health Organization. It provides brief advice for users based of the FRAMES approach and provides links to follow up services where these may be needed.
DBIU is now used by 11 Local Authorities as a specific alcohol intervention for their populations, with links and referrals to local treatment service providers for each local authority area. This service has been used by over 338,000 people since it was launched. Data and reporting is provided to these local authorities giving them a better insight into their local populations’ relationship with alcohol, allowing for more targeted interventions and better allocation of services for those who need them.
We now have over 1000 hours of clinical time delivering interventions over Skype. Developed in 2014 by HAGA, DrinkCoach is a Skype based Extended Brief Intervention, designed for those who need more help to change their relationship with alcohol than an IBA, but aren’t in need of more structured treatment. DrinkCoach has now had more than 620 sessions commissioned. Our Alcohol Nurse and DrinkCoach specialist, Mark Holmes, led the design and refined the approach, improving the delivery of DrinkCoach as he has significant direct experience of delivery to people accessing the service. HAGA have literally written the manual.
Having delivered DrinkCoach for over a year we realised that the principles and approaches were suitable for use by counsellors in providing more structured treatment to people who need this input to address their relationship with alcohol. Our DrinkCoach team worked with our Clinical Director, who is an experienced psychotherapist, to design a full Skype Counselling service that we will soon be launching in conjunction with the Soberistas website (www.soberistas.com).
Our extensive experience of delivering alcohol counselling and our development and delivery of DrinkCoach have ensured that the model we have developed provides the best possible Skype based counselling available.