Professor Thiagarajan Sitharthan, University of Sydney.
This project aims to facilitate the participation of a large group of consumers from all over Australia (including remote and rural areas) to learn to self-regulate their alcohol consumption and manage their co-occurring depression/anxiety. The program attracted participants from all over Australia as they could register online via the Australian Centre for Addiction Research website or by free phone call.
The majority (about 60%) of participants were female and the mean age in years was 44. While males tended to drink more than females, the mean distress scores (measuring depression and/or anxiety) were higher for females.
There was a clear demand from the consumers to engage in self-change programs, and providing programs like this allows professionals to take treatment to people’s homes, rather than waiting for them to come to the clinic. This approach fits well within a public health care model and reduces the need for travelling time, waiting for an appointment, and also avoids the needless stigma that is often associated with alcohol use and depression/anxiety.
Satisfaction rates were high from consumers regarding the program material, contents and relevance; and over 75% of the 474 participants were available for the follow-up.