Back in 2014, we came across Hello Sunday Morning; a charity using mobile technology that we knew had the potential to have a huge impact on the health of Australia.
The numbers speak for themselves: 79% of Australians believe we are a nation with a drinking problem; 1 in 6 (15%) of us consume more than six drinks on a typical night out; and close to half of us are trying to change how we drink permanently. More staggeringly, alcohol is responsible for 5,500 deaths and over 150,000 hospitalisations every year – more than our suicide rate and road toll combined.
The problem is that 90% of people who want to change don’t seek help because of the stigma associated with excessive drinking. Making it worse is that of those who do reach out for help, only 10% will succeed, as the current treatment system just can’t keep up with the demand.
This is an issue that is increasingly important, especially to youth in Australia. In 2015, Mission Australia reported that alcohol and drugs were the number one cause of concern for young people, higher than mental health, or finding a job.
Hello Sunday Morning is an organisation with a mission to change Australia’s relationship with alcohol. By changing our nation’s view of Sunday morning from the usual hangover to one of untapped potential, we can help shape a lifestyle that we can be proud of.
— Hello Sunday Morning (@HSMLife) July 22, 2016
Hello Sunday Morning is firstly a brand and lifestyle movement. Thanks to the brilliant work of beyondblue, RUOK and other mental health causes, it’s now, culturally acceptable to talk about mental health issues. But conversations around drinking are still in the shadows.
It’s sometimes easier to say “I’m driving,” or “I’m sick,” rather than, “I’m just not drinking tonight,” which inevitably draws comments like, “just have one,” or “but why,” or even, ”are you pregnant?” There seems to be a culture in Australia where drinking is expected, and choosing not to has to be justified.
If you do need help, Hello Sunday Morning has a mobile app called Daybreak that is proven to be effective in helping people achieve safer levels of drinking.
How does it work?
Hello Sunday Morning’s Daybreak app begins by asking you a series of questions to define your relationship with alcohol, before delivering personalised, weekly challenges to help you change. When was the last time you watched the sunrise from a mountain peak, or went for a swim in the ocean before 8AM? (And for the truly adventurous, Hello Sunday Morning’s most popular challenge is to “go on a date sober.”)
“We’ve created a culture where drinking to excess is more acceptable than drinking moderately. Therefore, the social aspect of cutting back is often the most difficult aspect,” says Chris Raine, Hello Sunday Morning’s CEO and Founder.
With smartphones outnumbering even pubs and clubs in Australia, we really saw the opportunity to help Hello Sunday Morning to put the power of change directly in Australians’ hands – in the moment where they need help and support.
“Often we drink to do the things we think we need alcohol to do, whether it’s to be confident, to bond with our friends, or to deal with issues in our lives,” adds Raine.
With research derived from cognitive behavioral therapy principles and a partnership with the University of Queensland, Hello Sunday Morning uses a technique known as ‘brief intervention’ to encourage contemplation as a self-motivator – the goal isn’t to stop drinking, just to make more conscious drinking choices.
“Brief intervention is well-suited to smartphones because it’s quick and easy, but has the potential of long lasting effects. It encourages contemplation to make positive change.” – Dr Diana Egerton-Warburton, Chair, Australasian College for Emergency Medicine.
It adds positive peer pressure and collective participation to keep users going, billed as “the world’s first weekly brief intervention program.”
Dr. Nic Carah, a researcher from the University of Queensland, also pins all those Insta-worthy Sunday morning moments as a gateway to encouraging your friends: “Sharing your new experiences via inspirational imagery on platforms like Instagram is a way to proudly shout about your achievements. Likes or comments act as a form of encouragement and motivate you to keep up the good work.” (Don’t forget to use #HelloSundayMorning when you’re sharing!)
Best of all, it works
Over 95,000 Australians, including sports stars, celebrities, politicians and media personalities, have so far turned to Hello Sunday Morning to help redefine their relationship with alcohol.
App users have experienced an average reduction in alcohol consumption of 25-50%, which most importantly has meant they’ve shifted from high-risk drinking levels down to low-risk drinking levels.
Hello Sunday Morning’s Chris Raine says their ultimate goal is no waitlists, and 90% national awareness of Hello Sunday Morning.
“As we enable conversations around harmful drinking to be more open and honest, more people will put their hand up for help. Hello Sunday Morning wants to make sure that every Australian, no matter where they live or how much money they earn, has access to immediate and effective support to change their relationship with alcohol”.
So the question remains: How will you reclaim your Sunday?
Hello Sunday Morning’s latest app, Daybreak, is available from the App Store and Google Play.
Vodafone Foundation is focused on harnessing the power of mobile technology to create a healthier Australia – from the groundbreaking Dreamlab ‘supercomputer’ to helping people sit less to improve their health at work with BakerIDI, and helping people to change how they drink with Hello Sunday Morning.
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