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Australian First: mobile health coaching launched for alcohol behaviour change

Hello Sunday Morning

Alcohol behaviour change charity, Hello Sunday Morning, has today announced an Australian first Health Coaching service featured in its mobile app, Daybreak, with funding support from nib foundation.

Daybreak Health Coaches is the first dedicated mobile chat-based psychology service for Australians who want to change their relationship with alcohol.

Hello Sunday Morning CEO, Chris Raine, said rather than taking a one size fits all approach to alcohol behaviour change, the program is tailored to the individual, and most importantly at the time the individual needs support them most.

"The Daybreak program is built on the principles of cognitive behaviour therapy and personal choice. It's not about abstinence but about personal choice. The overwhelming amount of research confirms that personal, individual intervention results in better outcomes in persuasion and behavioural change," Mr Raine said.

"Our goal is to help people reflect on and change their relationship with alcohol – whether they have two drinks a day or 10. While some members may want to cut alcohol out of their life, for most they want to achieve a healthier relationship with alcohol and make better drinking choices," he said.

"Our Health Coaches, who are mental health professionals with backgrounds in health, mental health, counselling and psychology, help members set and reach goals for satisfying and healthy lives," Mr Raine said.

"Most importantly, they provide readily accessible support at that moment in time when someone is about to reach for that next drink. Our Health Coaches will be there to help our users understand why they are seeking alcohol and work with them to identify other techniques they can use to deal with what is usually the underlying trigger" he explained.

Hello Sunday Morning app

Initially promising to respond between the hours of 9am-5pm on weekdays, with nib foundation's support this service will scale to 24/7 coverage with 90-second response times.

Claims data from nib health funds shows that the need for such a service is significant, with the number of claims paid for alcohol related disorders increasing by 18 per cent in 2015 compared to the previous year.

Amy Tribe, nib foundation Executive Officer, said, this demonstrates the pressure that Australia's heavy drinking culture places on the health system and the growing need for prevention and early intervention programs.

"That's why we are committed to funding innovative new solutions that empower Australians to take action to live healthier lives," Ms Tribe said.

"Hello Sunday Morning's new Health Coaching feature does exactly that by harnessing the power of technology to deliver online self-help that has the potential to reach the large number of Australians who drink at mild or moderate risk levels," she said.

In a first for alcohol and other drug (AOD) support services, Hello Sunday Morning's combination of health services and mobile technology means Health Coaching will be both reactive and proactive, allowing Health Coaches to reach out to members who need support, triggered by data, information and alerts collected by Daybreak.

"Based on pilot data, we are expecting to receive more than 42,000 requests for support a year. This is five-times greater than what is currently provided by other alternative general chat services for alcohol and other drugs," Mr Raine said.

By using cutting edge techniques in digital design and user experience, Daybreak's Health Coaching feature builds long-term engagement and allows members to improve their health, track their progress and receive the level of care suitable to their current needs.

The new Health Coaching service is available now through the Daybreak app. You can download it from the Apple App Store or Google Play.