Empowerment of clients’ recovery journeys using the AIMHi Stay strong application
In 2019, Life Without Barriers (LWB) Drug and Alcohol Counselling Service has utilised the motivational care planning intervention, the AIMHi Stay Strong Application (app) with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients. Developed in 2012, by Menzies School of Health Research in collaboration with Queensland University of Technology, the app translated the culturally-adapted AIMhi paper based care plan into an interactive e-mental health tool. Taking a strengths based approach to wellbeing, the app is a useful engagement and brief intervention tool within clinical and community settings to use with their Indigenous clients.
Historically, LWB AOD counsellors would formulate a case plan with clients using a standard templated word document. Typically, clients declined to participate in this process and counsellors often remarked that the case plan would result in disengagement in the session. In August 2019, LWB commenced using the AIMHi Stay Strong Application which uses culturally relevant visual imagery (e.g. stay strong tree) to support a client’s wellbeing and identify aspects of their life which may impact on this, resulting in a case plan. Feedback from clients after using the app was that they enjoyed being able to visualise their wellbeing with the help of the app. Client’s would often take the app from the worker and be eager to drive the session themselves. They would ask for print outs of the case plan and would come to their next session, excited to tell the worker how they had altered their week to ensure that their wellbeing tree continued to grow strong.
The use of the AIMHi Stay Strong App has empowered clients to take control of their alcohol and other drug recovery journey. The application has provided a culturally appropriate mechanism to highlight how they can influence their wellbeing by making changes in various life domains.