The Blue Cross Czech Republic has developed an extensive network of counselling and aftercare services in the Moravian-Silesian region. In this region, care and support for dependent people and their families is as yet not fully developed as a social service. The services the Blue Cross Czech Republic provides, therefore complement the existing detoxification programmes offered by local hospitals and clinics, Blue Cross services are a significant contribution that enables clients to benefit from a professional, integrated approach towards dependence treatment that effectively addresses detoxification, therapy, rehabilitation, and aftercare.
The wider context in which Blue Cross Czech Republic works
• The Czech Republic has the second highest alcohol consumption in the world.
• Over 30% of Czech men who drink alcohol are classified by the WHO (2011) as ‘heavy episodic drinkers’ (i.e. ‘had at least 60 grams or more of pure alcohol on at least one occasion weekly’).
• In the Czech Republic beer is cheaper than any soft drink.
• As other high consumption countries, alcohol policy regulation development and enforcement is considered in need of strengthening.
Since 2009, Blue Cross Czech Republic has established three highly professional counselling centres in different locations in the Moravian-Silesian region and one in neighbouring Zlin region. These centres offer an integrated therapy programme covering:
• individual counselling;
• counselling and advice for family members;
• referral services – including collaboration with the Ministry of Justice, prisons, and social and legal child protection;
• life-skills trainings; and
• spiritual support if desired; and
• self-help, i.e. a network of self-help groups is linked to each of the centres which aims to ensure the sustainability of the proposed support.
After two years of operation, the local Blue Cross counselling centres delivered more than 500 therapy sessions to an average of 80 clients per year in each centre! Nearly as many women as men visit the centres, and about a quarter of the persons seeking help are relatives of dependent persons. Thanks to the holistic approach that combines professional therapy and aftercare with a spiritual dimension, the counselling centres achieve a high rate of successful outcomes as well as client satisfaction.
Testimony from a client
I am waking up quite early, at 5:45 a.m., it is light outside. I am looking outside the window and noticing a thick fog. Despite this dull weather, I am saying my morning prayer: “Today will be a beautiful day, I will not spoil it by alcohol, I love myself; alcohol destroys my body and soul and causes wrinkles, which I want to have only from laughter.“ I then wish a nice day to all the people I know, to those whom I appreciate and whom I love. This has been my morning ritual ever since I started therapy at the Blue Cross. I was sceptical at first, but it really helps me to start my day on a positive note.
Blue Cross Czech Republic relies, amongst others, on donations to fund its services. Please help this organisation to ensure the sustainability of its services for people affected by the harmful use of alcohol.