Throughout January, the Collaborative has supported hundreds of people to cut down on their drinking by running a campaign linked in with the UK’s one-month alcohol-free challenge, Dry January.
Since 1st January, more than 200 people across Cheshire and Merseyside have downloaded the Collaborative’s ‘Lower My Drinking’ app which a is free to use platform for anyone who lives or work in the area. A further 100 people have accessed the triage website (which can then signpost individuals to local services, should they need them).
The app was first launched in July 2021 with campaigns running on social media, together with posters and business cards being displayed in more than 550 Healthy Living Pharmacies across the nine local authority areas.
Since the start of the campaign in July 2021, more than 1,000 people have downloaded the ‘Lower My Drinking’ app, which helps individuals to set and achieve a drinking reduction goal. A further 300 have accessed the triage website.
The platform allows people to track progress, identify their motivation for reducing their drinking, as well as highlighting issues that could potentially cause someone to drink more than is healthy for them and gives a set of proven skills that can be used to address these.
As well as this, the platform gives feedback and guidance to the user, and the potential benefits of cutting down, including psychological, social, financial, and physical. The app helps users create a plan for the future with practical ideas including ‘drink-free’ days.
Dr Paul Richardson, Consultant Hepatologist at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic saw a rise in harmful drinking and its consequences on people, communities and services so it’s very positive to see so many people downloading the ‘Lower My Drinking’ app across Cheshire and Merseyside.
“We would like to thank partners across the subregion’s health and care system for sharing information about the app and to all the Healthy Living Pharmacies for displaying the campaign posters and promotional material.”
Research from Alcohol Change UK indicates that almost a third of drinkers (28%) have found themselves drinking more in 2021, compared to 2020. Around one in six drinkers (17%) feel concerned about the amount they have been drinking since the removal of COVID-19 restrictions in the summer, and a quarter (25%) would like to reduce the amount they drink in 2022.
A further phase of the campaign is being developed and will be rolled out across Cheshire and Merseyside in the Spring.