Connection is very important for overcoming from alcohol and other substance use problems. But the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in physical distancing and social isolation measures which specifically reduced the connection between people. As a consequence, people who are suffering from alcohol and other drug use problems lost many of their connections, miss their community and support.
At the same time alcohol use increased during the pandemic in Germany. This has led to more people developing problems with alcohol.
In this situation, the heart-driven Movendi members of IOGT Germany stepped up to help provide much needed support and human connection by launching addiction emergency helpline.
As Movendi International reported previously, the Central Institute for Mental Health (ZI) in Mannheim in cooperation with the Nuremberg Clinic surveyed over 3000 adults on their alcohol consumption. 35.5% of survey respondents reported consuming more or much more alcohol than before the coronavirus crisis. Alcohol harm during COVID-19 was further aggravated among people with lower socio-economic status.
As more people consume alcohol heavily during the pandemic, the number of people reaching out to addiction counseling centers around the country seeking help also is rising. These centers are under-funded in Germany and hence cannot keep up with the growing demand.
This unstable situation does not help people who are suffering from alcohol and other drugs problems and need immediate support for recovery. They need a functioning, reliable system of healthcare.
IOGT Germany supporting recovery
In the COVID-19 context of isolation, physical distancing and lockdowns, IOGT Germany provides much needed support, connection and community for people who need help with their alcohol or other drug use problems. The IOGT Germany addiction helpline 0180 365 24 07 is available 24 hours, 7 days a week, all year round.
The helpline is run by volunteers and is the only one in Germany.
Last year from the launch in April to December, the helpline received 2,341 calls in total. Roughly about 100 calls per month. In January and February 2021 they have already taken 907 calls.
Most of the calls were about alcohol or other drug problems. With lockdowns and limited government counseling services, for some people the helpline is the only way to connect and speak to someone about their substance use struggles. The heart-driven IOGT Germany members who run the helpline report there are many COVID-19 related causes leading people to using alcohol and other harmful substances and developing addiction. These include,
- Loneliness due to a lack of contacts and a lack of social control,
- Financial worries due to short-time work or the threat of unemployment, and
- Family burdens, which in extreme cases can even lead to domestic violence.
The volunteers are trained through a course delivered online via a video conferencing platform. Currently, 40 volunteers are running the helpline from their homes. Since it can be connected to mobiles the volunteers can work from anywhere.
Support this unique initiative
If you are in Germany, get in touch with IOGT Germany to explore possibilities to volunteer for the helpline or support their work on social media channels, Facebook, Instagram and the official website.
IOGT Germany: “The addiction emergency telephone – a success story” [Translated from German]
IOGT Germany Instagram: Post regarding the helpline [Translated from German]
IOGT Germany Youtube: “The nationwide emergency telephone addiction of the Good Templars in Germany” [Translated from Germany]