Building a toolkit for change

Practitioners are always on the lookout for tools to have effective conversations about change across an array of behaviours and concerns. These tools can make a difference in conversations about change and the purpose of this paper is to share what is available as widely as possible. As websites are universal, these resources can be beneficial to people living in other Trust areas and the workforce across Northern Ireland.

This page provides Tools and Resources in the area of:

  • Alcohol and drugs
  • Behavior change and resilience
  • Stress and trauma

  • Motivational Interviewing

    One of the strongest tools any worker has in their toolbox is the trusting, therapetic relationship they form with their client/patient. Motivational Interviewing (MI) gives workers a learnable, evidence based approach to the conversations they have with their clients about change.

    While training and practice with feedback is the best way to build competence in motivational interviewing, two tools are presented here that will help introduce MI as a way of working.

  • Giving information to clients

    Giving advice and using written information is common place in working with people. ‘Make the Most of It‘ fact sheet below, is a guide to practitioners on effective advice giving.

    The PDF below is a handout for clients to read:

  • Alcohol and Drug Resources
    • An alcohol screening tool that can be used with clients to assess their level of risk
    • An interactive information tool which will tell you how many units are in specific drinks and calories  –
    • Downloadable factsheets have been developed to aid the conversation about the harmful effects of alcohol. They include factsheets on  Alcohol Related Brain Disorders, The Liver, Alcohol and Drugs in the Brain, Stress, Trauma and the Brain and Alcoholism and can be printed –
    • Alcohol Brief Advice Tools covering Maternity, Parenting, Mental health, The General Public and Hospital and the Emergency Department. They can be used to help link a person’s drinking to concerns and increase motivation.
    • Guidance for delivering alcohol brief intervention is aimed at describing the levels of brief intervention and the skills involved. Pocket Guide to Brief Intervention and Behavior Change presents a brief overview of these skills. Tools to provide Screening and brief advice include the MOT part 1 MOT part 2
    • Interactive web based self-help: The Alcohol and You website has a wealth of information and support including a self-help resource that is unique in Northern Ireland and has been accessed over by over 3500 people.
    • A free phone app to check your drinking is also available through Google Play or the App Store:
    • Cannabis and You: is a self-help workbook for cannabis misuse. Its contents have been developed into an interactive website found at
    • Drug and Alcohol Support Services SETRUST: Services and Contact numbers within the South Eastern Trust
  • Health Behavior change

    Two tools have been developed through the Health Development Department to help people make changes that are right for them.

    • A Nudge in the Right Direction was developed as tool to set goals and make a plan for change. It follows principles or effective health behaviour change with identified Behaviour Change Techniques
    • The Big Five: Taking Control or your Health through lifestyle Changes is a compliment to provide more information about the benefits of change and build motivation to change activity levels, eating habits, drinking, smoking and build emotional health
  • Support for family members affected by addiction

    Taking the Lid Off is a self-help booklet for family members developed through the Relatives Support group that meets every Tuesday Night in Downshire Hospital. For more information on the group contact Shimna House, Downshire Hospital on (028) 4461 3311

    Taking the Lid Off for Young People is also available HERE.

  • Self Compassion

    Self-compassion holds significant potential to help people achieve goals, improve wellbeing or address longer term chronic challenges.

    A workbook to introduce you to self-compassion can be found here.

  • Building Resilience in Ourselves and our Children: Dealing with Stress and Trauma

    Fact sheets: Ideas for Healing Stress, Trauma & Your Brain

    Stress, Trauma & Your Brain is based on a presentation by Zoe Lodrick, psychotherapist and explores basic brain functioning and its impact from excessive stress and trauma. The second fact sheet Ideas for healing are consistent with the strategies for building resilience presented at the ACE awareness training.

    This can be viewed on the Alcohol and You website:

    Low Intensity CBT tool and supportive training – Bend Don’t Break

    Bend Don’t Break is a low intensity CBT resource. It is being used in a range of different settings with positive feedback either with support from a worker to guide you through the booklet of as a self-help tool. Stress, Managing and Resilience training in the South Eastern Trust makes use of this workbook in their workshop for Trust staff.

    It was developed and updated from the previously used low intensity CBT resource, The Bouncing Back Workbook. The Bouncing Back Leaflet presents ideas for parents on building resilience in their children.

    Making Our Nervous System Work for Us

    Rising stress has been a feature over these past few years. Making Our Nervous System Work for Us is a workbook introducing  the Polyvagal Theory to improve well-being. It is not a quick fix for stress but people are finding it useful.


  • Steps to Cope

    Steps to Cope is an evidence based early intervention where young people are affected by parental substance misuse or mental health issues. Using the Resilience Scale for Adolescents as an impact measurement tool, it is showing promising impact in strengthening resilience in these young people.

  • Parenting resources
  • For the workforce

    Alcohol Brief advice tool for Alcohol and Parenting

    The Alcohol Brief Advice tool, Parenting and Alcohol is a resource to enable parents to explore the impact of their drinking (and drug use) on their children and tools for change. It can be downloaded for the Alcohol and You website:

     Having Effective Conversations about Change Training

    The aim of this two, half day workshop is to strengthen workers’ knowledge, skills and confidence to offer opportunistic brief advice or engage in effective conversations about change which could improve health, wellbeing and relationships and increase the uptake of services.

    Training resources for the workshop are on the Alcohol and You website about effective advice giving. The Fact sheet, Make the Most of It, is a guide to practitioners on effective advice giving. For more information contact:

    Opening our Eyes to Hidden Harm

    Opening our Eyes to Hidden Harm is a leaflet aimed at building capacity in the workforce to identify and support children and young people affected by Hidden Harm (parental substance misuse) and was jointly developed by the PHA and the HSC.