Agenda item

10:40 Risk Taking Behaviour Intervention Tools


A presentation - brief intervention tools as a behavioural change method for use with young people around risk taking behaviour was presented to the board by Pat Rice - Response Manager and Jayne Price - Relationships and Sex Education Curriculum and Policy Lead, NHS Wirral.


Individual engagement in risky behaviours can be influenced by a number of factors including low self esteem, lack of knowledge about the risks, lack of skills (e.g. using condoms), lack of negotiation skills (e.g. refusing sexual activity, alcohol & drugs) and the attitudes and prejudices of society which can affect access to  services.


Brief, opportunistic interventions have been found to be successful in a range of areas including reducing excessive drinking and alcohol-related risk in young drinkers, reducing the incidence of STIs, increasing condom and contraception use, increasing the number of individuals screened for Chlamydia and reducing conceptions among under 18s.


The tools that have been developed not only address the consequences of risky sex and alcohol use, but also helps identify components of respectful relationships will also impact on young people’s vulnerability to sexual exploitation and abusive relationships. As the tools are for both alcohol, and sex and relationship health, frontline workers will link the two in their work with young people which gives a holistic approach to tacking these important areas.


Brief Interventions are based on motivational interviewing and positive psychology approaches which means the conversations are based on a positive discussion, rather than judgemental and negative approaches which do not engage young people. They provide an opportunity for young people to consider their lifestyle habits which could impact negatively on their health, provide advice and encouragement, involve support for those who want to change and are delivered in a short time and friendly style.


The tools had been very well received by young people and their feedback had developed their use. Further developments include a parent guide and smart phone applications. The importance of training staff to use the tools and ensuring the project is sustainable was also outlined.


Public money has been used to develop these evidence based tools-but there is a danger in the changing climate that such tools will be lost. Public Health has made a commitment that by May 2012 an external evaluation of the toolkits and how they are used by workers will be completed. This will inform a suggested action plan for future commissioning of brief interventions around risk taking for young people and suggest ways to embed the tools and training for frontline staff within practice and policy.


K Podmore wanted to ensure that the toolkits were used across all sixth forms and colleges


J Owens thought the toolkits were very useful and invited Jayne Price to address School Governors to ensure good communication about the tools across the whole school community.


Cllr Smith thanked Jayne and Pat for a very informative presentation and noted the good impact this work had delivered for Wirral’s young people.


Resolved: The presentation was noted.

Follow up work would be carried out by the presenters with board members:

K Podmore to ensure the toolkits were communicated in Birkenhead Sixth Form and Wirral Metropolitan College.

J Owens to carry out a communication session with Wirral Governors.