Are you aged 17–24? Want help to manage your drinking and anxiety?

Join the inroads program trial and get FREE access to an online skills development program and phone/email sessions with a trained psychologist.

What is the inroads program?

Researchers form UNSW and Macquarie University developed the inroads program for young adults with concerns about their anxiety and drinking.

Over five online modules, the program will help you develop new skills to encourage you to think about your use of alcohol and overcome anxiety. You will be encouraged to set goals and stick to your choices. The modules are completed weekly and you will also receive phone/ email support from an experienced psychologist.

What is the link between anxiety and drinking?

Anxiety is very common as young people experience new challenges, including:

  • a new job or study program
  • establishing new friendships, and/or
  • a new living situation

Often, people who experience anxiety drink alcohol to cope with these challenges. Some people also experience anxiety from drinking too much.

When you are feeling anxious, and perhaps drinking more often, alcohol can initially lift your mood and help you relax. However, once these effects wear off, alcohol makes your feelings of anxiety worse and can affect your mood.

How can the inroads program help?

The Inroads program is about providing you with skills to cope with your anxiety and life stresses. You will be encouraged to think about what’s important to you, and plan out the steps needed to work towards your goals.

To determine whether the Inroads program is right for you, you will be asked some questions about your anxiety, drinking and other related concerns. These questions will take approximately 10 minutes to complete, after which you will get feedback about your symptoms and whether the program would be beneficial for you.

What is the inroads program?

This online program has been specifically designed for young people aged 17 to 24 who are currently feeling anxious in some or all areas of their life and may use alcohol to cope. The inroads program will help you identify the areas of your life that are challenging and provide you with the skills to deal with them in healthier ways.

 

It is common to feel anxious and be worried about your drinking. In fact, one in four young people experience mood or anxiety concerns in any 12-month period. You may not have a mental health disorder, but might just feel that you need some help in managing your feelings better. That’s ok! We would encourage you to work through the program and see if it is beneficial to you.

 

The inroads program is based on the “CASP program”, a treatment program developed at Macquarie University to help adults with significant anxiety and drinking concerns. We know the CASP program is an effective treatment, because it was tested in a clinical trial and compared to standard treatment. People who received the CASP program were able to reduce their drinking, and also experienced a reduction in anxiety and depression symptoms, and improved quality of life compared to the standard treatment. You can read more about the CASP program.

 

The inroads program is an adaptation of the effective CASP program for young adults. It is for young people who need some assistance managing anxiety symptoms and setting limits around drinking. The online format means the program can be accessed easily, on your computer, phone, or tablet. Brief email and/or phone sessions with an experienced psychologist will help you with some extra advice or support when you need it.

 

To find out whether the prorgam is right for you, take our self assessment.

Who is it for?

The treatment trial is for people aged 17 to 24 who experience both anxiety and are drinking above recommended Australian health guidelines (less than 14 standard drinks per week, no more than 4 standard drinks on a single occasion).

How do I know if the program would suit me?

The best way to find out if you would benefit from the program is register and complete our screening survey at preview.inroads.org.au/register.

 

The survey will ask a number of questions about your drinking, anxiety, and other mental health symptoms to determine if the program is right for you.

 

You can also contact us on (02) 9385 0422 or info@inroads.org.au and speak to one of our experienced staff. They can also answer any questions you have about the project.

How much does it cost?

There is no payment required for accessing the treatment program. We are able to provide this free access due to research funding support from the Australian Rotary Health, and in return for your feedback on the program. You will also receive a $30 iTunes, JB Hi Fi, or Coles/Myer gift voucher to reimburse you for your time completing the follow-up survey (2 weeks after program completion). 

What does treatment involve?

The Inroads online treatment program uses a type of therapy called Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). This type of therapy has been shown in many research studies to be particularly effective at reducing symptoms of anxiety and in helping people to better control their alcohol use. MI is very focused and goal-directed which facilitates and engages intrinsic motivation to change behaviour, while CBT encourages you to examine the various situations you are involved in every day, and looks at your reactions to those situations (for example, your thoughts, worries, assumptions etc.) which may affect how you feel about that situation and how you behave.

 

MI aims to help you explore your short and long term goals and the things that may be stopping you from getting to where you want to go and assists you on how to get there. CBT aims to help you think, feel and behave differently in situations causing you worry and stress using a range of different skills and strategies, so that things can improve for you.

 

The Inroads program is based on techniques from successful tried and tested interventions which has been used in several research studies conducted in Australia, and has been shown to help people better manage anxiety symptoms, mood, reduce alcohol use and improve quality of life.

 

Throughout Inroads program, you will have the opportunity to hear about the experiences of an individual of your choosing, who might be in a similar position to you. In addition to these stories, you will learn different techniques to help you through your current situation. You will be provided with personalised feedback on your drinking and how you compare to others similar in age. There are also a range of worksheets and information sheets available for you to print or save for future reference.

Where do I go for treatment?

Inroads is an online treatment program with support from a psychologist via email and or phone which means that you can do it on your computer, phone, ipad or other device at home or wherever you feel comfortable. There is no need to attend any face to face appointments.

What is required of me?

If you decide to take part, you will be asked to:

 

  1. Complete questionnaires in which you will be asked about anxiety, depression, drinking, suicidal thoughts;
  2. Read and interact with a new program for anxiety and drinking weekly for 8 weeks;
  3. Answer questions about your experience with the online program.

All the information and personal details gathered during the study are completely confidential. Only members of the team will have access to the data, and you will not be individually identified in any publication of the results.

Can I pull out of the study?

Yes. You are free to withdraw from the research and to discontinue participation in the program at any time without having to give a reason and without prejudicing your relationship with the researchers, the University of New South Wales or Macquarie University.

Who developed the inroads program?

The Inroads program was developed by researchers at the University of New South Wales and Macquarie University. The program was informed by the latest research on the link between anxiety and alcohol use, and the best ways of overcoming these issues. 

 

In 2017, the Australian Rotary Health funded a trial of the program to determine the benefits for young people living in Australia.