Free counselling in Gippsland to support the community to drink less

Gippsland residents who want to drink less or quit alcohol will now be able to access free support as part of a new program delivered by Hello Sunday Morning.

Funded by the Gippsland Primary Health Network (PHN), the Daybreak Plus program will support those who want to change their relationship with alcohol, through confidential, non-judgemental and supportive conversations with professional health coaches.

The program includes a structured six-session telephone counselling program that is designed as a ‘step up’ from Hello Sunday Morning’s Daybreak App for people who have identified that they need additional help and are searching for support to empower them to make sustainable behaviour change and improvements in physical and mental health.

The Daybreak Plus program will complement Hello Sunday Morning’s key offering — their free app — Daybreak. Daybreak allows individuals the opportunity to access a network of other like-minded peers who want to change their drinking habits, and also provides individualised treatment, reaching hundreds of thousands of people at the time they need it most.

The Daybreak App has also been reviewed as a “good app for supporting users in changing their relationship with alcohol” by the Digital Health Guide, an online platform created to help healthcare providers navigate the confusing space of digital health apps. 

 “Hello Sunday Morning’s Daybreak App has been recognised as one of the most innovative healthcare apps in Australia. And we are excited to partner with Gippsland PHN to provide additional support in the form of Daybreak Plus to their local residents,” said Chris Raine, CEO of Hello Sunday Morning.

In Gippsland, it is estimated that more than 45 percent of adults consume alcohol likely to cause injury. For every 10,000 people, there are 19-48 alcohol-related ambulance attendances and 34-63 alcohol-related hospital admissions.

Gippsland PHN CEO, Amanda Proposch said it’s important to understand what the Gippsland community need in order to better support them. “By working with our community, we have identified alcohol and other drugs as being an important health issue with numerous service gaps”, she said.

“Supporting programs such as Daybreak Plus will be valuable to particularly those most vulnerable, who are unable to travel or afford psychological services.”

According to Briony Leo, psychologist and head of coaching at Hello Sunday Morning, “When working with members on the Daybreak app, we noticed that a lot of them were experiencing issues other than alcohol — things like mental health, stress, relationship issues, parenting issues and general health concerns. These members needed additional support but were not able to access it, for a variety of reasons.

“We developed Daybreak Plus with these members in mind, and it is a brief program designed to identify the issues contributing to alcohol use and formulate a plan about how to manage them. Members are asked to set goals for treatment and each week they feedback on how they are going with these.”

And Briony is confident of Day Break Plus’ ability to support Gippsland’s most vulnerable residents: “Anecdotally, from a lot of the Gippsland members I have worked with so far, many have noted that it is a real challenge to cut back or stop altogether as a big part of socialising involves alcohol — and heavy drinking is normalised. Members report feeling somewhat isolated when they do make the decision to cut back as it feels as if they are going against social norms and are a bit concerned about others’ reactions to this.

“Many members who have completed the program so far have found it useful to speak with someone over the phone over a period of time and receive advice and support for things they are going through. Much of the time members also have goals around their health and wellbeing in addition to the alcohol use, and we can help them to address these too.”

 For free access to Daybreak Plus, anyone residing in the Gippsland region can register at www.hellosundaymorning.org/gippsland.