PUBLIC HEALTH INTERVENTIONS

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  • PUBLIC HEALTH INTERVENTIONS
    • HELPLINES
      • AO1- These were originally telephone based support services offering advice, guidance & access to info for those who called with problems e.g. addictions.
      • AO1- These days many helplines also can be accessed via email, the web & SMS.
      • AO1- They can be financed by charitable organisations or through government sponsored programmes.
        • Eg Smokeline. It was estimated within its first year 6% of all Scottish adult smokers contacted them for support.
      • AO2- RESEARCH SUPPORT FOR THE EFFECTIVENESS OF HELPLINES.
        • PLATT ET AL assessed a Scottish quit smoking helpline. A sample of 848 adult callers were followed up by phone interview 3 weeks, 6 months & 1 year later.
          • 143 reported quitting with a further 534 detailing they'd modified their habit. Overall around 19,500 adult smokers stopped smoking with the direct help of Smokeline.
            • 1 year after the Smokeline campaign began, the prevalence rate for smoking among 25-65 year olds in Scotland was lower than it had been before the start of the campaign. This suggests that Smokeline was effective as the campaign contributed considerably to a decline in smoking in Scotland, partly because it reached a high number of adult smokers.
      • AO2- METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES
        • One limitation of this research type is that the results rely on self-report so theres no guarantee that the data is accurate.
          • Its difficult to say that pp's changes in smoking habits were made only as a result of Smokeline, as there are many variables that effect someones decision to quit e.g. family pressure.
            • However, similar research carried out by OWEN on the effects of Quitline had similar results, which adds reliability to PLATTS findings about the effectiveness of helplines.
    • HARM MINIMISATION PROGRAMMES
      • AO1- Controversial campaigns based on the idea of harm minimisation accept that people will engage in risky behaviour.
      • AO1- These programmes try to educate people to behave in a safer way & reduce the harmful effects of a behaviour rather than telling them to abstain.
      • AO1- Many government health promotion programmes addressing alcohol use are based on harm minimisation principles. They include the following: giving people advice about safe drinking, mixing alcoholic drinks with soft drinks etc.
      • AO1- They often involve a hierarchal approach to behaviour change which gives the individual more choice about their behaviour.
      • AO2- MORE EFFECTIVE THAN TRADITIONAL INTERVENTIONS
        • They seem to be more successful than those programmes which encourage people to 'just say no'. Countless research has reported that traditional types of public intervention were ineffective as they were based on the idea of peer pressure. However, MITCHEL & WEST found that peer pressure isn't very powerful
          • One reason for this may be because of the hierarchal approach which gives the person more choices like engaging in the behaviour safely rather than just 'don't do it'.
      • AO2- MORALLY & ETHICALLY CONTROVERSIAL
        • Even though more traditional programmes have been shown to be less effective it appears that the general public have moral & economic objections to harm reduction programmes.
          • Its argued that people feel its wrong to financially support addiction e.g. meth programmes.Some have also proposed that harm reduction programmes are maintaining addiction rather than reducing it.
            • On the other hand, many ex addicts believe that without these programmes they wouldn't approach services. For many addicts, reduction rather than abstinence is the only real long term alternative to full blown addiction.
              • Furthermore, its been argues that giving advice & distributing relevant paraphernaliais economically better in the long term, as treating the associated health risks with addiction can be more costly. Ultimately the debate continues but it does highlight the necessity for health workers to balance the concerns of society with the needs of their clients.

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