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Skills and Knowledge Exchange Project for Drug and Alcohol Helplines

Skills and Knowledge Exchange Project for Drug and Alcohol Helplines

At a kick-off meeting in Lisbon in March 2017, nine partners launched the project “SKEPDAH - Skills and Knowledge Exchange Project for Drug and Alcohol Helplines”. This project is funded by the European program for education, training, youth and sport (Erasmus +). It is in fact so-called Strategic partnerships for vocational education and training partnership under Key action 2: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices. The project will run until August 2018.

The participants are eight Drug and Alcohol Helplines all involved in FESAT (the European Foundation of Drug Helplines). They include Ireland (Drugs/HIV Helpline), Belgium (VAD, De DrugLijn), Bulgaria (Fracarita Bulgaria, National Drugs, Alcohol and Gambling Helpline), Portugal (SICAD), Cyprus (PERSEAS), Norway (RUStelefonen), The Netherlands (Trimbos Instituut), and Germany (Basis eV.). The nineth but no less important partner is The Training Exchange Ltd, UK – a company specialized in training and consultancy for mental health, social care and addiction services.

The objectives of the project are related to some of the needs of the Helpline workers, which were identified with the help of two questionnaires distributed in advance by FESAT amongst its members. In the response, three topics stood out:

- Topic 1: Helpline skills for new workers; senior workers and burn-out prevention;
- Topic 2: New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) and the challenges for Helplines;
- Topic 3: Drug and Alcohol Helplines and Mental Health/Dual Diagnosis.

As mentioned above, the focus of this kind of partnerships is innovation through exchange. Drug and Alcohol Helplines workers of the partners get the opportunity to attend three Transnational Learning Exchange Meetings, with the specific aim of increasing their skills on the three key topics and facilitating knowledge exchange. What has been learned during the meetings will be used to create curricula for training of the teams of the partner organisations on each topic.

As an end result, these curriculae for continued vocational education and training for Helpline workers will be dessiminated via the online resources of FESAT and the projects partners in order to be available and used freely by other Drug and Alcohol Helplines as well as similar services in Europe and beyond.

At the Kick-off meeting in Lisbon, Portugal on 27-28 March 2017, the partners focused on creating schedules and agendas for the three further Transnational Learning Exchange Meetings and discussed their specific tasks for the project.

The first Transnational Learning Exchange Meeting will be held in Sofia, Bulgaria, on 19 and 20 June 2017. At the meeting, the partners will develop curricula for new and senior Helpline workers including burnout prevention.