The Public Health Agency (PHA) and the Council for the Homeless Northern Ireland (CHNI) have launched an important booklet to encourage substance users to think about their nutrition and eat a balanced diet, to help improve their health and wellbeing.
Nutrition for substance users – a step by step workbook for people using alcohol and other drugs, is a resource that can be used by individuals both in addiction and homeless settings, with or without support from staff. It has been widely distributed in the Belfast and South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust areas.
Regular and heavy substance use can lead to poor nutrition, where people do not eat enough food, or enough of the right types of food, leading to a range of health problems. This booklet has been developed by CHNI, with funding from PHA, as a self-help guide for substance users who are willing to change their eating habits.
Speaking about the resource, Séamus Mullen, Head of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement (Belfast), PHA, said: “The PHA is really pleased to have supported the development of this workbook; we hope it will have a significant impact on improving the eating habits of those misusing alcohol and/or drugs.
“This booklet is an excellent example of partnership working, as it was produced by members of the statutory and voluntary sectors, with input from service users on its design and content.
“Healthy eating can be a challenge for us all, particularly those managing other difficulties, however as the workbook states - even small changes can make a big difference.”
The workbook was co-written by Chris Rintoul, CHNI, and Grainne McMacken, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, with contributions from Stephen Patterson, Carlisle House Service User Group, Sinead Devine, Salvation Army and supported by CHNI staff.
Deborah Lawlor, of Depaul Ireland who works closely with people affected by substance use, said: “This workbook will make a valuable contribution to improving the health of our clients who commonly have health problems associated with poor diet related to their alcohol and drug use.”
Nutrition for substance users – a step by step workbook for people using alcohol and other drugs promotes the importance of eating a balanced diet, helps provide motivation to eat well and encourages positive changes in eating behaviour. It aims to reduce risks to health and improve wellbeing, while an individual continues to use substances in a way which may be harmful to health.
To download a copy of the Nutrition for substance users’ workbook, go to the publication section of the PHA website or CHNI website: www.chni.org.uk. A paper copy of the booklet is available from CHNI, Tel: (028) 9024 6440.
Pictured with the new Nutrition for substance users – a step by step workbook for people using alcohol and other drugs, funded by the Public Health Agency (PHA) and produced by Council for the Homeless Northern Ireland (CHNI) and others, are (back L-R): Margaret Henry, Deputy Director, CHNI; Grainne McMacken, Senior Community Dietician, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust; Kelly Gilliland, Senior Health Improvement Officer, PHA (Belfast area); (Front L-R) Kathy Henry, Substance Use Training and Development Worker, CHNI; Stephen Patterson, Carlisle House Service User Group and Chris Rintoul, Substance Use Training and Development Officer, CHNI. Copies of the workbook are available from the publication section of the PHA website or CHNI website: www.chni.org.uk. A paper copy of the booklet is also available from CHNI
Notes to the editor
- For media enquiries contact the PHA Communications on 028 9055 3663.
- The Public Health Agency takes the lead on the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety’s New Strategic Direction for Alcohol and Drugs, Phase 2, 2011-2016.
- CHNI was founded in 1983 to represent organisations working with homeless people throughout Northern Ireland. This is achieved through providing training, information, research and collective representation.
- The workbook was co-written by Chris Rintoul, CHNI and Grainne McMacken, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust’s Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service with contributions from Stephen Patterson (Carlisle House Service User Group) and Sinead Devine (Salvation Army), and support from George Quinn and Kathy Henry, CHNI.