• University of Newcastle
  • Aspen Medical
  • Defence Health
  • NIER
  • Ironside Recruitment

Are you a family member or friend?

If you have found yourself here, you are likely worried about a family member or friend who is experiencing problems with their mood and drinking?

You may also be wondering how do you turn these worries into a helpful conversation that leads them closer to getting the help and support they need?

As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Similarly, the responsibility for accessing help lies with the person, although you can certainly help by increasing their awareness of your concerns and letting them know what help is available.

Communication is the key to ensuring that you remain connected with your loved one. In the end, you want your loved one to feel that they can trust you, leaving things open for future conversations. However, we know that having conversations about the things that concern you can be a challenge, because their behaviour is probably impacting on you (and/or others) in ways that you don’t like.

Here are some tips to getting started:

  1. Arrange a suitable time that is free from distractions and private. Having a conversation while doing an activity, like walking, is less confronting than talking face to face.
  2. Avoid having the conversation when they have been drinking.
  3. Don’t tell them what to do, and try not to be judgemental. Giving them a lecture will not be helpful, particularly if they are having hard time already.
  4. Listen. By allowing them the opportunity to talk about their problems they will be more receptive to your concerns.
  5. Let them know that you care about them, and are there to support them.
  6. Reinforce that there is help available and let them know you can help them access support. Offer them some options, like this vSHADE program, if they are receptive.
  7. Let them know that you are there for them when they need.

This process is likely to evolve over time, so be prepared for more than one conversation. Getting it right from the outset is important as it will pave the way for future discussions to occur. It’s also important to remain patient and acknowledge that the process of change can take some time.

Family an friends supporting

How can an online program like vSHADE help?

There are many reasons why an online program like vSHADE is a great place for your loved one to access help. Accessing face to face services can be difficult for some people and there are several reasons for this:

  • First, depending on where you live, accessing appropriate services may require travelling long distances for appointments, and this may not seem viable in the long term. Online services can be accessed anywhere you have internet coverage - on a computer, laptop, tablet, phone or mobile device. This means that you can access it virtually anywhere and at any time, and especially times that you need it most.
  • Some people find accessing face to face services difficult, and an online program offers them the anonymity they prefer. Using an online program enables someone to do things in their own time and at their own pace, without having to talk to someone face to face.
  • Some people really just prefer to manage things on their own, or at least in the beginning, like to try to work things out for themselves, without having to go an ask someone else for help. Online programs like vSHADE are just perfect for people who feel like this. It gives people an opportunity to try things for themselves first, and to help teach themselves the things that a therapist or other health professional might recommend.

The vSHADE program has been designed with the best evidence we have about what works for people who are experiencing problems with their mood (including depression) and also who drink alcohol (to cope or to manage their symptoms). The ‘v’ in vSHADE stands for ‘Veterans’, because this program is specifically for people who have served in the Australian Defence Forces.

If your loved one signs up for vSHADE they will get immediate access to a 10 session evidenced-based online program to assist them with their mood and their drinking, including fact sheets and downloadable resources. This will be like completing an online course, and they can work through it at their own pace. For some, they will also get access to an online community to connect with other Veterans experiencing similar challenges. This online community is supervised by the vSHADE clinicians so people can feel safe and confident that things are being monitored. vSHADE is free, anonymous and entirely online, which means you can access it anywhere and anytime