at the doctors’ surgery with one of the children for a routine appointment, I noticed a poster on the wall for those worried about aspects of their health – including alcohol consumption – for a local authority funded service called Health Trainers.
this service uses trained individuals to offer free one-to-one support to make healthier lifestyle choices, typically over six to eight sessions. it is possible to self-refer oneself to these services, without involving a GP.
Health Trainers were originally intended to reduce health inequalities and to provide advice from within a community, rather than in a top-down approach. not every borough funds these services. here’s an example of a London-based Health Trainer team. they are also intended to be a gateway to other appropriate local services.
one of the questions I sometimes ask myself is ‘how could I have stopped drinking earlier?’ if I had seen that poster six months before I actually stopped, would I have rung the number and attended the sessions? because I was concerned enough about my drinking to go through prolonged moderation attempts. I was terrified of talking to the doctor about it, and AA seemed far too drastic a step. but a fluffier type of general health check? maybe I might have done, if I had known it was there?
if you are in the UK and feel you might benefit from such support, you could Google ‘health trainers *name of your county or city*’ and see if they’re available where you are.
my trainers are languishing unused at the moment as work levels rise… I must get them out again before someone plants primroses in them!