Recovery Steps Cumbria, the new alcohol and drug partnership that launched in the county in October last year, has received a boost with the introduction of new online alcohol tools that help people get personalised feedback about their drinking and advice on local support options.
The free and confidential DrinkCoach tools are designed to help residents assess their drinking, receive tips for cutting back and find out more about the local support options provided by Recovery Steps Cumbria, a service that is delivered in partnership by Humankind, The Well and Cumbria Alcohol and Drugs Advisory Service.
Many people enjoy alcohol responsibly, however the Department of Health estimates that 83 percent of people drinking above the low-risk guidelines do not know they are putting their health at risk.
COVID has also led to an increase in the number of people who are drinking at home, making it all the more important for people to have access to information and advice that will help them manage their drinking. The DrinkCoach Alcohol Test is free and confidential and takes just two minutes to complete. By answering 10 simple questions, the test taker receives advice and, where appropriate, information on the many local support options offered by Recovery Steps Cumbria.
Rates of alcohol related harm are higher across the North-West region compared to the rest of England. Cumbria specifically has higher rates compared to the England average for alcohol-related mortality and mortality rates for chronic liver disease. Research also highlights that one in eight drinkers who receive brief advice will reduce their drinking to low risk levels. By providing this advice and support virtually, DrinkCoach can help reduce the burden on GPs and other health professionals at this busy time of year.
Alongside the Alcohol Test, the DrinkCoach app is free to download and use and available on iOS and Android. The app can help residents to self-monitor their drinking, calculate units, cost and calories, set goals and use the many other features available to help them track and change their drinking.
Speaking about the difference that DrinkCoach can make, Angela Calcan, Operations Manager for DrinkCoach, said: “We know that alcohol has affected people in many ways throughout the pandemic. We hope that these tools will allow all residents in Cumbria a quick and confidential way to get feedback, advice and support when they need it.
If people require additional support, they can speak to Recovery Steps Cumbria which has helped almost 1,000 people since it launched in October. The service, which is funded by Cumbria County Council, offers a range of services including clinical, health and wellbeing support, access to work and skills opportunities, and connections to housing.
Support at Recovery Steps Cumbria is provided by trained professionals, including staff and volunteers from The Well who have lived experience of addictions.
Speaking about the addition of the DrinkCoach tools, Ged Pickersgill, Senior Business Development Manager at The Well, said: The Well Communities welcome this innovative approach to supporting people with alcohol issues. As a lived experience recovery organisation (LERO) the majority of staff and members have trodden the path of active alcoholism and recognise there is no one size fits all method of supporting such people. DrinkCoach is a helpful and informative tool that will assist and facilitate people towards healthier relationships with alcohol “.
Recovery Steps Cumbria has services across the region including Carlisle, Workington, Whitehaven and Barrow-in-Furness, as well as satellite offices in Penrith and Kendal.
To take the free and confidential alcohol test visit: https://drinkcoach.org.uk/cumbria-alcohol-test. To find out more about Recovery Steps Cumbria visit https://humankindcharity.org.uk/service/recovery-steps-cumbria/.