In November 2022, the Students' Union at UWE took part in Drink Rethink with SOS-UK, reaching over 100 students.
Drink Rethink is a preventative approach that enables and encourages students to reflect on their drinking, consider risks associated with alcohol consumption and the benefits of reducing consumption. It is an intervention delivered by trained student ambassadors who use the nationally recognised evidence-based behaviour change tool known as Identification and Brief Advice (IBA).
Drink Rethink adapts approaches from use with the general public in informal settings, to suit a student audience, and it draws on evidence that suggests interventions conducted within a university setting and by non-healthcare professionals have greater efficacy than similar delivery in other non-health-related settings.
"After being a part of Drink Rethink the past two academic years, we have seen first-hand what an excellent evidence-based intervention it is. The peer led approach is a great way to encourage students to think about their drinking habits. We have seen great success working with UWE Bristol and SOS-UK and we look forward to continuing to run with impactful project." (Ruby Smith, Community Projects Coordinator at the Students' Union at UWE)
7 students were trained as Drink Rethink ambassadors and engaged with over 100 students across two days.
At UWE where Drink Rethink has taken place, there have been a number of positive outcomes.
· 7 student ambassadors were trained and delivered Drink Rethink to students using IBA
· The student ambassadors delivered the intervention over two days, in two separate locations over two hours each time
· All of the student ambassadors found the training and intervention to be beneficial
· 142 students completed the AUDIT and received leaflets specific to their alcohol risk level
· Numerous students received a general leaflet without completing the audit
Following their participation, students were shown their total AUDIT score and were given a leaflet tailored to their audit risk categories of alcohol dependency (low risk, increasing risk, high risk, higher risk/possibly dependent). Students were also signposted towards welfare and support services at UWE for further advice.
To evaluate the impact of the intervention, participants were invited to complete an online follow-up survey three weeks after completing the initial AUDIT.
The follow-up survey had 27 respondents and these individuals were asked what the main thing they recalled about their experience was. Of the 27, 12 completed the full AUDIT (respondent scored greater than 4 on the initial 3 questions), their responses revealed that:
· 42% agreed that Drink Rethink gave them information about their alcohol consumption they weren’t aware of previously
· 25% agreed that Drink Rethink made them think about changing how they drink alcohol
· 17% agreed that Drink Rethink made them change how much alcohol they drink
· 17% agreed that Drink Rethink made them change how often they drink alcohol.
Comments from students who took part included:
· “Being surprised at my result”
· “The call for self-awareness and urgency to keep the drinking level on check”
· “Asking myself the question how often and how much I guess. I am not a drinker, but it made me think definitely about the occasions and the amount one would consume and whether that is in the normal.”
· “Quite informative and eye-opening in terms of alcohol units”
· “Opened my eyes to a lot of things I was unaware of or gave no previous thought to.”
· “I don’t really drink, but it is still important to think about the amount. It made think of how often I would consume alcohol as well. Very helpful. A great initiative needed for students!”
The student ambassadors were also asked to complete surveys before and after their participation to assess how the opportunity enabled them to develop key skills.
Of the 3 follow-up survey respondents, it was found that:
· All - increased their belief that they could make a difference when working with others
· All - felt they were more aware and tolerant of the diverse needs, feelings and views of others
· All - Felt they had improved their ability to apply different styles of communication
· All - Felt they were willing to ask others for advice or help when solving aproblem
· All - Said their confidence in meeting new people had been improved
· All - Said they were more confident having a go at things new to them
· All - Said they were more confident putting their ideas forward
· 2 out of 3 - Increased their belief that they’re able to have an impact on the world around them
In addition to the students participating in the AUDIT, the intervention was beneficial to the Drink Rethink Ambassadors.
To find out more about Drink Rethink please contact firstname.lastname@example.org