New app trial for alcohol or drug recovery

On 27 November, Waikato District Health
Board’s Mental Health Service launched the
trial of New Zealand’s first smartphone
application that provides extra support to
people recovering from alcohol or other drug
issues. ‘Recovery in Hand’ is powered by the
product ACHESS that is proven to help
people cope in times when alcohol or drug
relapse may occur, without the need to wait
for their next counselling appointment.
The one-year pilot will complement 200
people already receiving care from the DHB
via a mobile interface that connects them to
their clinical team, recovery community,
peers and other resources 24/7.
Waikato DHB’s interim Director of Mental
Health and Addiction Services, Vicki Aitken
says “people are impacted by addiction if
they don’t feel connected.
“Whānau and other close support are vital
parts of recovery, along with active
counselling and treatment. The app is an
extra tool to help people feel connected and
take further ownership of their recovery plan.
“Addiction services and our NGO partners
have always done their best to meet demand
for their services, but could always do with
more resources. This new tool will help
complement and support the counselling
services we provide.
“Waikato consumers and our team of
clinicians and counsellors are really excited
and supportive of the trial and look forward
to seeing the apps’ success in the Waikato.”
The app powered by ACHESS has a range
of features for patients that are accessed via a
smartphone interface. Clinicians and
counsellors have access via a web-based dashboard.
Key features include:
• a hot button (Beacon) for access to
emergency support
• GPS detection for when a patient has
entered a potential high risk location
(optional feature patients can choose to
• a variety of supportive resources including
video, and audio
• goal setting, journaling and the ability to
upload pictures, texts and video that will
motivate people to stay clean
• medication and appointment reminder
• recovery tracking and progress.