Context : alcohol dependance

People experiencing substance dependence often have underlying mental ill-health. Unfortunately, they may not receive the empathy they need.

Alcohol related mental ill-health leads to higher levels of social rejection and more negative emotions than non alcohol related mental ill health. Fearof being stigmatised can also prevent people from seeking help.

However there is a strong social and relational aspect to recovering from alcohol dependancy.

So this lack of support and connection is a real barrier to peoples recovery.

Approach : co-design

In order to understand more about the impact that people’s social contexts had on their recovery I researched and co-designed with service users and stafffrom Quarriers, a local service for people with substance use disorders. I also worked with a unit of the Moray council who oversee the local drug and alcohol harm provision, and an alcohol free socialisation group.

Outcome : prosocial game

The outcome is a pro-social game to facilitate conversations around alcohol dependency. The game reduces stigma through open conversation, and equips people with the tools and information to be supportive to people in their lives who struggle with their relationships to alcohol.

It uses cards with common challenges experienced by people with dependence and their social networks, as well as suggestion cards giving constructive advice on how to cope with the challenges. Participants play in rounds, discussing and reformulating the pairs as new cards emerge.

The challenges are based on real situations that people who have lived experience of alcohol dependence commonly face, and the suggestions are based on how they would want others to respond to them, or the things they wish they had known, as well as advice from professionals and experts in alcohol harm.

Gul Rasool

Gul is currently working as a Service Designer in the Ministry of Justice, in a team that focuses on increasing the accessibility and inclusiveness of Courts and Tribunals services.

She is a graduate of GSA’s Masters of Design, with a specialism in Transformation Design.


Learn more here
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