Help for parents with teens and alcohol: Alcohol. Alright?
Wirral’s successful intervention tool for speaking with young people about alcohol - Alcohol. Alright? - has taken another step forward this week, with the launch of a guide for parents and carers and a mobile ‘app’ for young people.
The alcohol intervention tool gives frontline workers the confidence and skills to engage young people effectively to talk about alcohol and related issues.
Since its launch in the spring of 2012 by Wirral Council’s Response agency, part of Wirral Youth & Play Service, more than 160 practitioners have been trained in its use, including youth workers, youth offending workers, counsellors, nurses at Arrowe Park Hospital, school nurses, family support workers, peer educators and volunteers.
In an evaluation conducted last year, 99% of young people aged 13-19 surveyed said that they had found the intervention ‘helpful’ or ‘very helpful’.
The tool includes a range of resources to engage young people in a discussion about alcohol. One of these, a fold-out booklet, provides much needed practical advice on how to look after a friend who has drunk too much.
A 16-year old female surveyed said that this booklet would “help me to look after my boyfriend when he drinks, he sometimes has too much and I don’t usually know what to do”.
The intervention tool is being used with young people in youth facilities, schools, parks and open spaces and other locations where young people frequent.
Based on feedback, a new information booklet has been added to the range to provide information and help to parents and carers. This includes advice on how to positively influence their child’s alcohol consumption if they are drinking and official guidance regarding young people and alcohol. Practical tips are also given to help parents and carers talk about alcohol with their child.
The booklet will be available in a range of locations including community centres, A&E at Arrowe Park Hospital and at a variety of events.
A new mobile ‘app’ has also been designed to promote the intervention and deliver key messages around alcohol misuse. Players are tasked with guiding their drunken friend along the street and getting them home safely.
Points are scored for helping the friend home, providing them with water and reassuring them; points lost if they bump into hazards, such a traffic cones and dustbins. Temptation is also on route with more alcohol available, which if drunk will see the friend suffer the effects.
Councillor Tony Smith, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services & Lifelong Learning, said “Alcohol misuse by young people is a concern across our society and the more we can do to educate young people about the risks to them and how they can keep themselves and their friends safer the better. We have responded to feedback in providing additional information to parents and carers and hope that this helps them to have sometimes difficult conversations with their children.”
The mobile ‘app’ can be accessed from www.teenwirral.com/drunkfriend/