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Blue Cross Chile - Self Help for Relapse Prevention

Country Context

Latin America’s level of consumption of 8.4 liters of pure alcohol annually per capita (total population 15+) makes it the second highest region in the world for alcohol consumption, behind only Europe at 10.9 liters. In 2014 Chile has – for the first time – topped Latin American alcohol consumption. The 2014 WHO Alcohol Profile for Chile shows a significant increase in drinking over the last 10 years, including a jump from 8.8 liters in 2011 to the current average of 9.6 liters. Factors that might have contributed to this increase are the longstanding drinking traditions and, linked, the social acceptance of drinking alcohol, relaxed alcohol laws and low taxation.

Project Summary

Blue Cross Chile is a health promotion organization which collaborates with 15 affiliated treatment centers that employ a therapeutic community approach and provide stationary and ambulatory treatment to more than 900 persons per year (clients and participating family members). In order to complement the services of these Blue Cross Centres as well as to decrease the rate of relapses among its clients, Blue Cross Chile is building up a network of self-help groups as new service delivery in the field of aftercare. This is done through the active promotion of self-help among communities, churches and other institutions, the training of self-help group leaders and through close support and coaching for newly established self-help groups.

Project Objective

Overall goal of this project is to significantly decrease the relapse rates among the Chilean Blue Cross treatment centers by creating a low threshold aftercare offer for clients leaving stationary treatment. By the end of 2014, at least 15 self-help groups will be created and run on a weekly basis in the cities Santiago, Valparaíso, El Bosque, Temuco and Coyhaique. These groups will be open to any person suffering from alcohol problems independent from whether treatment was provided by the Blue Cross or any other organization.

Target Group

More than 200 persons suffering from alcohol abuse, clients and family members alike. In addition, Blue Cross will train at least 125 self-help group leaders.


• Create at least 15 self-help groups in 5 cities
• Follow-up and support to each group by a Blue Cross professional staff
• Each self-help group participant shall be given the opportunity to attend an individual counselling session by a Blue Cross psychologist at least once a month
• Implement professional training for at least 125 self-help group leaders
• Organise monthly regional meetings between self-help groups in order to share experiences

Proposed Results

This aftercare project is designed for efficient and cost-effective relapse prevention as well as to strengthen the strategies of social reintegration for clients who leave residential treatment in a Blue Cross center after one year. This type of evening programme shall also serve a second group of clients who are persons suffering from dependence but who remain socially fully integrated. This clientele from which Blue Cross receives significant demands for support often does not have the possibility to participate in residential schemes but is able to enroll in this particular support project.

Project Duration: 1.1.2014 – 31.12.2014

This is an IFBC funded project with the support of NRK.

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