With You’s drug and alcohol work in Glasgow is all about relationships, and we’ve worked hard to keep that human connection without face to face support, says Tracy Morrice, service manager, With You North East Glasgow Recovery Hub.
At the beginning of March 2020, Rob was referred to our drug and alcohol services after trying to take his own life. Rob had experienced issues with alcohol for a long time. He’d tried various treatments before and at this point wasn’t particularly interested in addressing his drinking habits. This all changed when he met his latest support worker Maggie at our hub in Glasgow. They made a connection right away and Rob began opening up about his past.
Human connections like the one between Maggie and Rob are central to the work we do in our recovery hubs. We know positive relationships are an important part of recovery from drug and alcohol issues. We work hard to help people build these relationships whether that’s between our staff and people looking for support or between the people who access our services.
In normal times, both our hubs in Scotland are buzzing. There’s always something going on with loads of activities for people to get involved with. But when the pandemic first hit, all of that changed. One person described the first lockdown as a black cloud appearing over his recovery. Everything he was doing that was good for him just completely stopped overnight.
With all hands on deck and a lot of hard work from all of our staff and volunteers, we found a way to lift that cloud. Together with our partners in the local recovery communities, we were able to get our seven-day-a-week group programmes up and running online within 24 hours. We quickly began to offer one to one sessions via phone and we added additional support wherever we could. To ensure our groups continue to be engaging, we developed a real variety of sessions, from an arts and craft session to a cooking club — that have built up a great peer support network.
We’ve also explored new ways to provide support offline. We started finding ways to help people access food, clothing and toiletries in lockdown. We also began distributing Naloxone — a lifesaving medication to reverse opioid overdose — door to door and providing doorstep training.
The end result of this hard work is that, despite everything, we’ve maintained consistently high referrals and have continued to keep people engaged with the services. At the same time, we’ve found some of the things we’ve started doing cut down the time between when someone contacts us and when they start getting support — we’re now able to help people almost immediately. We’re also seeing more people seeking support for the first time; an average of 58% of people accessing our services between May and December of 2020 had never engaged with services before.
Read the full blog post here.
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