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The Easy Project: Helping young people overcome substance misuse

The Easy Project: Helping young people overcome substance misuse

February 19, 2021
The Easy Project -

The EASY Project is a free and confidential service to help young people with personal substance misuse problems – providing one-to-one support that you can have easily via a webchat or on the phone.

How to get help

Webchat: Speak to a member of the EASY online team

Phone: 020 8567 4772

(If you do ring outside of 9am-5pm, the service says it will be in touch ASAP the following day.)

Email: easy.project@cgl.org.uk

Webchat during lockdown

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the service adapted to include a webchat service with a difference. Not a robotic ‘text-back’ service but one with real, human responses. This webchat service runs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 12noon-3pm.

The EASY Project is funded by the Council, and managed by Change Grow Live (CGL), a charity works closely with the council’s youth offending and adolescent MAST team.

Funded by the council, it is a non-judgement zone, set up to make users feel even more comfortable when using the webchat service. You can even use it anonymously by withholding your name and personal details.

Council leader Julian Bell said: “I encourage any young person struggling with an addiction to use this service.

“The webchat service is a free, confidential, supportive and most of all non-judgmental. Please don’t struggle, get help.”

Rebecca’s story

One recent success story is a 16-year-old girl from Ealing. We will call her ‘Rebecca’ for confidentiality reasons. She was referred to The EASY Project by social care teams for support to deal with her alcohol use. Rebecca’s story highlights just how important getting help at this time can be.

English is not Rebecca’s first language, so The Easy Project team quickly worked to make her feel comfortable to communicate in the support sessions. This was done by reassuring her that she would be kept informed of her treatment every step of the way and that she would stay in control.

As the sessions developed, Rebecca began to open up about her life and how she felt around different people. She mentioned that she would often write down her feelings in the form of raps because, at times, she found it difficult to communicate verbally exactly how she was feeling.

She began to describe how using alcohol had helped her to become more sociable because she had found it hard to be herself around new people, thus alcohol became her social crutch by aiding her to become more talkative.

Recovery

The further along her treatment went with The Easy Project, the more talkative and confident Rebecca became. She was able to reflect on what had made this possible, concluding that she could feel comfortable over time and that being able to be herself offered her a feeling of acceptance. This showed her that it was OK to be herself and feel confident that any new person would have to accept her as herself. As she realised this, she was able to reduce her alcohol use and learn to cope in social situations without it.

After about 13 months, Rebecca gained more understanding around her alcohol use and how her early life experiences and socialising linked together. 

She was able to leave The EASY Project having had a positive experience and knowing she could still contact the service should she need further support.

Rebecca’s story is just one of many examples where an intervention from the EASY Project has made a difference in the life of a young person – not just in helping them to control their substance misuse, but also in helping them to develop as a person.

The Easy Project also runs workshops in schools and occasional training programmes for young professionals.

Three reasons why webchat can help

Here are three reasons why you should use webchat if you or a loved one need help and support.

It can all start with ‘Hi’

All you need to do is ‘chat’. EASY staff respond quickly.

Emails can be formal, requiring structure, time and patience. You can often be left waiting for 48 hours before receiving a reply that will redirect you elsewhere. Webchat is the opposite of this, it is a chat, so all EASY staff expect is for you to say ‘hi’ to get an anonymous conversation started

EASY has real people on the webchat

The webchat is manned by real people, not robots, and they respond in real time. They are real case workers who have experience in the real world. They respond immediately when webchat is open and promise to provide you with honest and confidential advice

It is safe and confidential?

Yes. The EASY project is a non-judgement zone. To make you feel even more comfortable when using the webchat service, you can even use it anonymously by withholding your name and personal details. You will not be asked any personal details or fill out any forms. The EASY Project promise is to be discreet with your information and to prioritise your privacy.