Thumbprint Lifeline

  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • ongoing

Supporting people to make positive choices about themselves and their future.

Lifeline, a drug and alcohol treatment agency, uses Thumbprint to provide a light touch contact with the agency, boosting clients' mood, resilience and recovery capital.

Lifeline asked the people they work with what they thought about using Thumbprint in this way, and the response was very clear:

“One message I received made me think about myself then act on it.”
“It’s good to receive texts when you feel at your lowest, sometimes they are a godsend!”
“They make me feel better. I like to share them with people as well”
“When I get texts on an evening and a weekend it’s best because that’s when I need it most.”
“I was feeling very down, I got the text and it lifted me back up.”
“It’s something that inspires me to think more positively. It’s changes my thinking.”
“It’s something that helps me think positively.”

The Thumbprint initiative started as a try-out with a small group, and spread by word of mouth. “Clients started talking about the messages, others ask them about it, phones come out and they show the messages on the screen,” says Mark Tomlinson, team leader at Lifeline.

Mark explains that staff also noticed a repeated pattern of clients telling them that the messages came at just the right time to support their recovery, with clients saying “it was as if you read my mind”, even though the messages are sent out at random. “A client told us they got the text just as they were coming out of the magistrates court, so it came at just the right time.” Mark says.

The same effect was recorded by people taking part in bibliotherapy through Thumbprint.

Lifeline adopted Thumbprint through a step-by-step process, beginning with a trial period, and after listening to positive feedback, they recognised it as an "innovative approach to recovery" and extended the initiative to all their service users. This process meant taking ownership of the service within the organisation and making small tweaks to working practices to incorporate it.

Lifeline has also committed the necessary budget to sustaining the service, and through the commitment of Lifeline staff (and the convenience of Thumbprint), some of the messages are sent “out of hours” at evenings and weekends, when support services are often closed, and isolated people may benefit most from contact.

The initiative featured in Lifeline's annual review from 2013:

"The scheme has been an instant success, with service users reporting the positive impact at critical times."

Extending support for people out-of-hours when it's most needed, and boosting mood, are among the guaranteed positive results of using Thumbprint.

Lifeline's use of Thumbprint built on the knowledge developed from using Thumbprint with Bristol Drugs Project