Our impact in numbers
Helping people help themselves, online
The last few years have seen DHI move forwards with our digital offer for service users, but the pandemic has catapulted this work forward.
At our Reach Out event in June, which we held online for the first time, we launched our new version of webFAM. This new version features a more sophisticated self-assessment tool, more personalised resources for people who use it, and the ability for people to request further support.
This year, we have also been developing a brand new tool for young people. The Wrap will have a self-assessment tool with personalised resources, information for professionals and parents, tools for schools to use, and videos produced by The Natural Theatre Company.
"I had been dependent on alcohol for over 30 years when, in early 2020, I realised I wouldn’t survive much longer if I didn’t make a change. My mental health had deteriorated to such a point that I could no longer work, and my days were all about how I could make sure I got enough alcohol that day.
When I got in touch with DHI, the lockdown had begun and therefore all my support had to be by phone or in online groups. I completed a full group programme online, as one of the first people to take part in those new groups, and if it wasn’t for that support, I wouldn’t be alive today. The online groups allowed me to access support in the safety of my own home. I completed a detox from home and I’ve never felt better. I’m in work now and continuing to access support online. I really think that the online groups have been a lifesaver for so many people."
People helping each other
At the start of the lockdown, peers identified that clients had extra needs at that time above and beyond the normal services which we were continuing to deliver in a virtual or COVID-secure way.
Peers worked across our adult drug and alcohol treatment services to produce a buddying programme for socially isolated clients. Peers were involved in the planning of the service, and we worked with them to design and deliver specific training for them to run the service. Over the course of the lockdown, they supported over 100 different clients.
"There was one service user who I'd built up an excellent relationship with. One time when I called him, it was clear immediately that something was wrong. I spoke with him about what was happening and recognised that he was having severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms. He revealed to me that he had suddenly stopped drinking three days previously without any detox medication or any tapering off [which can cause fits and in some cases be lethal]. I reassured him that someone would call him very quickly. I contacted DHI staff immediately, who called an ambulance and he was taken to hospital. I dread to think what could have happened if I hadn't had that phone call with him that day."
Jeremy, a peer with the Peer Lockdown Buddying Service
"I was using drugs recreationally, but over time I found myself dependent on cocaine and heroin. My house was taken over by drug dealers and as a result, I was homeless and living in a tent for some time, and my children were placed in the care of my family.
Fortunately, DHI didn’t look just at my drug use, but also helped me with housing support so I could get into a new home of my own. Having a stable home helped me to address my drug use, completely stop my use of cocaine and heroin, and start to spend time alone with my children again.
I’ve been supported by DHI throughout the lockdown to stay abstinent and prepare to detox from methadone. Now I’m able to think about my hopes for the future and my dream of working in health care, hopefully as a midwife. DHI’s West of England Works service have supported me to sign up for several training courses so I can get the skills I’ll need to get into work when I am ready."
"My marriage breakdown meant that I suddenly became homeless shortly before my 51st birthday with just a bag of clothes, my work clothes, and no money. For two nights, I slept on a camp bed in the night shelter in Bath, before getting a small room, and then other temporary accommodation. Having access to a bed and a shower meant that I could at least continue going into work for a catering company. Ironically, the catering company was donating meals to the night shelter I was living in, so I was helping to prepare food during the day that I would then eat in the evening.
DHI and Home Turf Lettings were a lifeline for me. They found me a home, and my confidence and self esteem are now returning. I’ve taken up projects in the house like refurbishing a dining table so that my housemates and I have a nice place to sit and eat, and I’m starting to work on the garden so that we can grow our own vegetables. I’m so grateful for the support that I have been given. Having a stable, secure home is essential for a full life, and Home Turf Lettings have given me that."