01.09.2012 Alcohol prevention, e.g. in the workplace or for families
Projects of the National Programme Alcohol. Within the framework of the National Programme Alcohol a total of twenty alcohol prevention projects financed or co-financed by the federal government have been realised or initiated in the last one and a half years. Some of them focus on alcohol consumption in the workplace and on protecting the children of alcoholic parents. This issue of spectra outlines three of the projects.
In addition to causing considerable personal suffering, alcohol abuse costs the work environment a great deal of money. According to a 2011 study by the Federal Office of Public Health, excessive alcohol consumption costs Swiss employers approximately one billion francs a year. This breaks down to some 14,000 francs per employee affected. Productivity losses account for 83% of this sum, absences for 13% and accidents for 4%. Alcohol prevention and intervention activities in the workplace are an investment in the well-being and performance of employees. Prevention and intervention measures focused on the work setting, for instance those offered by the Blue Cross and Addiction Switzerland (Swiss non-profit prevention organisation), are in demand.
Five-part prevention package
With its "Alcohol in the Workplace" project, the Blue Cross offers employers five modules for alcohol prevention and intervention activities in their companies:
1. On-site presentations: Specialists talk about alcohol abuse and thus help break down the taboos surrounding it. Focus, content and length of the presentations are tailored to each company's individual requirements.
2. Training for employees: Using theory, film clips, group work and discussion sessions, the topic of alcohol abuse is addressed in depth and possible actions are highlighted.
3. Coaching for supervisors: Support ranging from short telephone counselling to coaching sessions on how to handle employees with alcohol problems.
4. QuickCheck: Calculation and estimation of costs incurred in the workplace as a result of addiction.
5. Health management: Drawing up a clear and pragmatic approach to dealing appropriately with substance abuse in the workplace.
A working group comprising representatives of the Blue Cross, SECO (State Secretariat for Economic Affairs), the FOPH, the Federation of SME and other organisations has convened a "National Dialogue Day on Alcohol in the Workplace" for 9 November 2012. A free hotline is available for employers and managers to obtain answers to questions on the topic of alcohol in the workplace.
Interactive training tool for executives
In cooperation with the Blue Cross, Addiction Switzerland is implementing a novel interactive training scheme that supports executives in dealing with alcoholic colleagues. The tool essentially consists of a film, in which actors perform scenes from situations commonly encountered in the context of alcohol abuse. The film is stopped at a critical point in the story. The viewers have to decide how they would behave in the situation portrayed. They can choose from three options. If they choose the right one, the film continues. If they choose the wrong ones, they are told why the chosen behaviour is counterproductive. All the scenes are supplemented with commentaries from specialists and further information. The tool is a new addition to the services offered on the www.alkoholamarbeitsplatz.ch website, a portal that already provides companies with information on the topic. The new tool is available in German and French from September 2012.
Forum for children from families with an alcohol problem
Several tens of thousands of children in Switzerland live with at least one alcoholic parent. About a third of them develop an addiction or are at serious risk of suffering from mental disorders such as anxiety or depression. Addiction Switzerland has set up a website for children and young people from families with a history of alcohol problems. Besides information on addiction and alcohol, it provides them with an opportunity to chat in a forum with others similarly affected and to put questions to experts. This project of Addiction Switzerland helps affected children and young people to strengthen their protective and resilience factors and develop an autonomous, healthy personality.
Central funding unit for alcohol prevention proposals
The federal government supports institutions, projects and research proposals that are dedicated to combating alcohol abuse. The framework for funding alcohol prevention projects is the National Programme Alcohol and the Federal Law on Spirits (Art. 43a BV; SR 680). Federal funding is awarded by a central unit on a systematic, coherent and transparent basis. The proposals submitted are examined by an expert commission for their relevance and likely preventive effect. The deadline for submissions for 2013 is 30 September 2012.
Tamara Estermann Lütolf, Scientific Secretariat of the Expert Commission, firstname.lastname@example.org