Although relapse prevention has always been a key priority for addiction treatment centers, the battle is never truly won. There are a multitude of circumstances that cause patients to relapse, no matter how excellent the treatment they received. Then, of course, there’s the pandemic. No greater obstacle to sobriety exists than what the coronavirus has brought about. There’s just no getting around it: quarantine, rehab alumni programs and relapse prevention are all connected.
As we consider the connection between rehab digital marketing and relapse prevention, we need to look carefully at rehab alumni programs. We need to acknowledge that they are highly effective for helping former patients in these extremely difficult times.
Six Things to Remember About Alumni Marketing and Rehab Digital Marketing
Whether you’re creating a rehab alumni program or looking for ways to make it more effective, keep these things in mind:
- Sending out the occasional “keep in touch” email doesn’t count as an alumni marketing program.
- Alumni marketing isn’t something that can be dealt with only when time permits.
- Rehab alumni programs provide invaluable access to addiction education, relapse prevention programs, guided group sessions and workshops.
- An effective alumni program empowers former patients to “pay it forward” and help others struggling with addiction.
- Creating a rehab alumni program is an effective way to promote long-term sobriety among former patients.
- Rehab alumni marketing goes on—even during a pandemic.
An Effective Rehab Alumni Program Serves as a Safety Net
Alumni programs provide a valuable service in a number of ways. First by staying in touch with your former patients, you make them feel more reassured that they aren’t all on their own once they’re out on their own.
You can also serve as the gentle, soothing voice of a friend who checks in to make sure they’re doing well. Providing the information and advice helps former patients resist giving in to familiar temptations. As a result, they’ll know who to thank for that—you.
When we say that quarantine, rehab alumni programs and relapse prevention are connected, we can back that up by re-examining what an alumni program does best.
How Quarantine, Rehab Alumni Programs and Relapse Prevention Collided
The country has been rocked by a pandemic, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in 100 years. Society has been drastically altered and that’s not good for those prone to addiction.
There could be no greater test to a former patient’s resolve than quarantines and social distancing. One glance at the news or trade publications tells us that alcohol and drug addiction are clearly on the rise in the age of COVID.
What can you do about it? In fact, your alumni program could literally be the only thing stopping many patients from falling back into addiction.
How the Pandemic Affects Your Rehab Alumni Program
Maintaining meaningful connections with former patients has been tested by the conditions that lockdowns and quarantines present. From telehealth to company meetings to friends trying to stay in touch with each other, virtual communication went from being unfamiliar to a routine in less than six months. Although there were problems and setbacks with virtual meetings at the outset of the pandemic, many centers are reporting higher attendance for outpatient virtual meetings than they did for in-person meetings in the past.
Although they may become less integral, virtual meetings will likely outlast the coronavirus. The paradigm has shifted more than many realize. Quarantine, rehab alumni programs and relapse prevention are indeed intertwined. Addiction treatment centers should not despair. There are ways to keep alumni programs powerful and relevant, even in a pandemic.
Ramp Up Your Social Media—and Keep It Up Post-COVID
Remaining in contact with former patients through social media is a very effective way to convey information and maintain a level of enthusiasm, while strengthening branding initiatives. The pandemic has made this process more imperative than ever.
The immediacy of social media is especially important right now, given the fact that normal social interactions have been compromised. In fact, social media is an excellent place to showcase comments, videos, and other marketing content of former patients discussing their recovery victories during the pandemic.
If your social media presence is powerful, alumni will freely discuss their triumphs and setbacks. It won’t all be positive, but it will be honest. In social media, honesty is a good thing—when you can find it.
Quarantine, Rehab Alumni Programs and Relapse Prevention: Get the Balance Right
The better the relationship that former patients have with your center, the more likely three things happen:
- They understand that you have their back, especially in these difficult times.
- They’re less likely to relapse due to isolation and depression.
- They are more likely to act as reliable referrer sources.
Patients who relapse must see your center as their safe harbor. They must see your center as the one most likely to help them get sober again. Furthermore, they need to understand that coming back to your center is the next logical step after relapse.
With an effective rehab alumni program in place, this is far more likely to happen.
The effects of quarantine and social isolation can be reduced. Leverage the power of your rehab alumni program to lessen the impact of social distancing. A great drug rehab website and digital marketing presence can help you to accomplish all of this.