Joojo’s board game helps ad­dicts

UNIVER­SITY GRAD­U­ATE AIM­ING TO GET HIS IDEA OFF THE GROUND

Sunderland Echo - - News - By David Al­li­son david.al­li­son@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @davi­dal­li­son88

A Sun­der­land Univer­sity grad­u­ate is look­ing for fund­ing to man­u­fac­ture a board game he has cre­ated which helps peo­ple liv­ing with drug and al­co­hol ad­dic­tion.

Since study­ing for a Mas­ter’s de­gree in Pub­lic Health at the Univer­sity of Sun­der­land in 2010, Joojo Kyei-Sar­pong has spent the past seven years work­ing with in­di­vid­u­als in re­cov­ery across the North East’s phar­ma­cies, re­cov­ery cen­tres, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and home­less hos­tels.

Fu­elled by a pas­sion to sup­port those with ad­dic­tion as well as the loss of a friend through a drug over­dose, Joojo de­cided to pur­sue a ca­reer as a sub­stance mis­use prac­ti­tioner.

And it was dur­ing the de­gree that Joojo’s idea to cre­ate a re­source that sup­ports group ther­apy in sub­stance mis­use treat­ment, com­bined with his pas­sion for graphic de­sign, led to the board game, In­spi­rado.

The game is an in­ter­ac­tive in­ter­ven­tion pro­gramme de­signed to build re­cov­ery from sub­stance mis­use, raise aware­ness, re­duce stigma and break down boundaries to ac­cess­ing sup­port for sub­stance mis­use treat­ment and men­tal health.

So far it has re­ceived a pos­i­tive re­sponse at all its playtest­ing ses­sions with re­cov­ery pro­fes­sion­als with more than 75% of par­tic­i­pants find­ing it ben­e­fi­cial.

Ghana­ian-born Joojo, 35, ex­plained: “With a health de­gree and self-taught graphic de­sign skills, my ap­proach to coach­ing has al­ways been il­lus­tra­tive and com­pas­sion­ate, us­ing ev­ery­day ex­am­ples to help clients un­der­stand be­hav­iour change.

“I am pas­sion­ate about sup­port­ing and coach­ing clients to achieve their re­cov­ery goals. The be­drock of this pro­fes­sion is care.

“This led me to fur­ther re­search into the ef­fec­tive­ness of health pro­mo­tional ma­te­ri­als within the city of Sun­der­land, mak­ing health in­for­ma­tion ac­ces­si­ble, at­trac­tive, and easy to un­der­stand and en­gag­ing.

“This mo­ti­vated me to cre­ate the game as an in­ter­ven­tion, with the po­ten­tial to be a re­source for sub­stance mis­use treat­ment ser­vices as well as re­habs, cor­rec­tional fa­cil­i­ties, schools, col­leges, home- less hos­tels, re­cov­ery cafés and many more.”

Play­ers of the game be­gin their jour­ney as a cater­pil­lar, to even­tu­ally fin­ish as a butterfly.

The jour­ney is nav­i­gated through a se­ries of event tiles on the boat in which ‘moral chips’ can be re­warded, which serve as re­cov­ery cap­i­tal or learned skills.

Dr Cather­ine Hayes, for­mer pro­gramme leader for the MSc Pub­lic Health at the univer­sity, said: “Joojo is a prime ex­am­ple of how stu­dents of the MSc Pub­lic Health here at Sun­der­land use what they have learned to make a tan­gi­ble civic im­pact at a re­gional, na­tional and global level.

“He has ded­i­cated his pro­fes­sional life since com­plet­ing the pro­gramme to the em­pow­er­ment of those liv­ing with ad­dic­tion.”

In­spi­rado is cur­rently on Kick­starter crowd­fund­ing web­site to raise £5,000 for the man­u­fac­ture of the first set of the game.

The full de­tails of the game can be found at http://kck. st/2eUn­l7K.

Joojo has spent the last 11 months work­ing at the Northum­ber­land Re­cov­ery Part­ner­ship, pre­vi­ously he spent al­most two years work­ing at the Drug and Al­co­hol Ser­vice in Durham.

The game helps peo­ple liv­ing with drug and al­co­hol ad­dic­tion.

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