For the residents of east and north east Melbourne, Dry July represents an opportunity to start a healthier lifestyle, particularly for those aged 40-65 years who are the age group most commonly admitted to hospital for alcohol misuse in the region.
Data from Turning Point shows that during 2014-15 there were just over 4,000 hospital events (presentations and admissions) related to alcohol for residents aged between 40 and 65 living in Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network’s (EMPHN) catchment, compared to those aged 25 to 39 who had just over 1,400 events.
This Dry July, EMPHN is highlighting the importance of continuing to make healthy choices about alcohol consumption after the month-long campaign, which promotes sobriety and awareness about problem drinking.
EMPHN CEO, Robin Whyte said her organisation is funding services designed to support people through the path to recovery.
“While Dry July is a great campaign, it’s important that people recognise recovery is a journey which continues long after the month ends and we are here to help members of our community along their journey,” she said.
Data in a June report from the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW), Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services in Australia 2016–17, confirms alcohol is the drug Australians most commonly seek help for and Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network’s catchment, Melbourne’s east and north east, had the second highest number of alcohol treatment episodes of all Primary Health Networks nation-wide.
Member for Menzies, The Hon Kevin Andrews MP said problem alcohol consumption needs to be recognised for the serious health issue it is.
“Alcohol use in Australia is often normalised in our culture, but we must acknowledge the serious health risks that it poses and get people the help they need,” he said.
EMPHN is helping people in its catchment to live healthier lives by funding a range of alcohol and other drugs initiatives.
One such initiative is Hello Sunday Morning, an organisation that has demonstrated very high success rates with their 'Daybreak' app that helps people to take up the challenge of addressing mis-use of alcohol. EMPHN has funded free access to Hello Sunday Morning for 2,000 people living in Melbourne’s east and north east.
If you live in this area you can use the app for free by adding your postcode when you download it from www.hellosundaymorning.org/daybreak/
The app delivers psychosocial counselling and peer support to individuals to reduce problematic alcohol use and address mild to moderate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Leonie is just one of many Victorians who have benefitted from using the Day Break app.
Case study – Leonie
I first discovered the Hello Sunday Morning Daybreak initiative five years ago when I made my first attempt of withdrawing from alcohol. I was impressed with the message, it spoke to me. It was one of empowerment, and a range of people from all walks of life were on the other end to support, share and surrender with me, my first pledge to give up alcohol for six months.
Hello Sunday Morning gave me a safe, confidential, socially accepted program that normalised sobriety. I would drink above my weight; use it and misuse it to ease a worried mind. I could not see through the haze to the truth that each was fuelling the other, the mental angst and the alcohol use. In fact, I was only ever ingesting a dose of anxiety each beer I would take, each sip numbed the pain, took me further away.
I realised by reading others stories on the app that I wasn’t alone, I realised I had joined a secret tribe, one that understood me.
Leonie is available for interview upon request.
Eastern Melbourne PHN is a Primary Health Network funded by the Australian Government to improve the care and support people receive from health services. We aim to improve the health of our community by ensuring people receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time. www.emphn.org.au
Daybreak is delivered by Hello Sunday Morning, a not-for profit organisation with seven years’ experience in supporting people to reduce their harmful alcohol consumption and has worked with over 130,000 people. Hello Sunday Morning also recently won the Google Impact Challenge for its innovative use of technology to address problematic alcohol use.
Media enquiries: Ellie Cope, EMPHN Communications Advisor, email@example.com 0488 382 033.