Alcohol & U App
The development of the Alcohol Awarenss App, "Alcohol & U", which was funded by the Midland Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force (MRDATF), through funding received by the Drugs Programme Unit (DPU) in the Department of Health, was a student led initiative and developed in partnership with the MRDATF, Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) Health Campus Initiative, AIT Software Engineering Department, AIT Graphic Design Department, Health Service Executive (HSE) and Foróige.
The aim of the Alcohol Awareness App is to provide accurate and up-to-date alcohol related information to a target audience of those 18 years and over. This information is presented in an easily accessible and interactive manner.
There were two phases to the development of this App:
Phase one of this initiative refers to the development of a poster competition with graphic design students in AIT. The brief was for the students to design an Alcohol Awareness poster which would be used to advertise the App and the graphics that would be in the poster would be used throughout the App also.
The HSE Health Promotion Officer delivered an alcohol awareness workshop to the graphic design students in AIT and students were also advised of the proposed range of material which will be available in the Alcohol App. Under the supervision of AIT Graphic Design Lecturer John Benton, the design students then developed a range of posters. The detail in the winning poster then formed part of the creative elements which is visible in the Alcohol & U App.
In phase two of this initiative, Software Engineering students were chosen by the AIT Computer and Software Engineering Lecturer John Barrett, to develop an android and iphone application which would contain the relevant content, and using the graphic design elements from the poster competition presented this information in a format that would be interactive and appealing to the target audience.
The MRDATF team in consultation with HSE Health Promotion Officer, HSE Project Manager Substance Misuse Strategy and Foróige Education Co-ordinator for the midlands drafted and advised on the content to be included in the App.
The range of material available in the "Alcohol & U" App are as follows:
Information Section – This section contains information on a range of topics to include Alcohol the facts, the effects (short & Long term), sexual health, mental health, low risk drinking, road safety, alcohol and sport and alcohol and pregnancy.
Alcohol Quiz - This section has a myth and facts quiz aimed at testing the users knowledge of alcohol related facts. Each participant will have a timeframe to complete the quiz and results are shown at the end.
Standard Drink Calculator - This allows participates to calculate their weekly/daily consumption of alcohol and will advise of recommended weekly limits for low risk drinking.
Supports and Services - List of Support and Services. This section lists a range of support services that can be accessed by clicking the relevant icon. This will bring people directly to the individual services website whereby the person has access to a wide range of information and supports which are available to them.
The Alcohol & U App was officially launched by Frances Black, Singer, CEO and Founder of the RISE Foundation on Monday 10th November in the Mullingar Park Hotel, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. The launch of the Alcohol & U App also coincided with the launching of 2014 Drug and Alcohol Awareness Week and the official unveiling of the re-developed Midland Regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force (MRDATF) branding which incorporates alcohol under the remit of the MRDATF since early 2013.
The development of this innovative project was a student led initiative and developed in partnership with the MRDATF, Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) students, AIT Healthy Campus Initiative, AIT Software Engineering Department, AIT Graphic Design Department, Health Service Executive (HSE) and Foróige. AIT Graphic Design and Software Engineering Students under the supervision of John Benton, Graphic Design Lecturer and John Barrett, Computer and Software Engineering Lecturer, participated in the development of the App. HSE, MRDATF, Foróige and the Health Research Board advised on the content to be included in the App, which has a target audience of 18 years and over.
By downloading this free App, a range of information is available to include an information section which contains a range of topics to include alcohol the facts, the effects (short and long term), sexual health, mental health, low risk drinking, road safety, alcohol and sport and alcohol and pregnancy. Those who download the App can also take part in an Alcohol Quiz and an interactive standard drinks calculator section, which allows participants to calculate their weekly/daily consumption of alcohol and will advise of recommended weekly limits for low risk drinking. Detail of the range of services and supports is also available. A poster which was developed by an AIT Graphic Design student will also be used to promote the App in the midland region.
Speaking at the launch of the "Alcohol & U" App Marion Rackard, Project Manager, Substance Misuse Services, National Social Inclusion Office, Primary Care Division, HSE stated "taking care of your mental and physical health and well being is the cornerstone to a lively and energetic life especially at a crucial stage of so much change and development in teen and early adult life. This alcohol app produced by students themselves aims to remind people of the low risk guidelines and how cutting back on alcohol can improve your general well-being with the many fun and precious moments remembered and most of all enjoyed free of danger or risk."
Also speaking at the launch Anne Cooney, AIT Healthy Campus Co-ordinator stated "AIT were delighted to be involved in the development of this project in partnership with the MRDATF, HSE and Foróige, this project was student led and this was a major strength as projects that have a high level of student participation tend to be more successful".
A scheduled event which ran as part of the MRDATF Drug and Alcohol Awareness Week took place on Wednesday 12th November in AIT from 12-2pm. This event "Student to Student - Alcohol & U APP", was organised by AIT Health Campus Co-ordinator and Students Union and this event gave a demonstration of the Alcohol App and those in attendance were be encouraged to download the free app.
Click here to see photos of the Alcohol & U App Launch and click here to see the press release.