Breathing Space is a purpose built, moderated, and secure social network, where people can seek support from clinicians and each other to help them improve their wellbeing and resilience. Breathing Space has been tested in clinical trials and is now being offered to family and friends of people supporting someone using alcohol or other drugs.

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For people supporting someone using alcohol or other drugs

The Family and Friend Support Program (FFSP) is a freely available, online therapeutic program that supports people who have a loved one using alcohol or other drugs. The FFSP program recognises that supporting someone who is using alcohol or other drugs can be extremely stressful and aims to assist families and friends to best manage the demands of this role whilst maintaining their own health and wellbeing.

The FFSP Breathing Space Community provides a safe and supportive place for you to connect with others in a similar situation to you. The FFSP Breathing Space community is an extension of the FFSP online program and is offered via the University of Newcastle’s Breathing Space app, available on both android and iOS devices.

Breathing Space is a purpose built, moderated, and secure app for private peer-to-peer communities. It offers a confidential space where you can connect with others to share your concerns, discuss your experiences and exchange useful information in a safe and supportive environment. In doing so, Breathing Space provides an opportunity to improve your levels of wellbeing and resilience. This community is also moderated by the research team, including Psychologists and Social Workers, who will be online regularly to provide therapeutic engagement, content, and discussion topics.

As the social distancing measures of COVID-19 continue, it might be more difficult for you to access your usual support networks and services. Being apart from usual support can be especially challenging for people supporting a loved one with substance use issues. This is because positive social connections are important for improving and maintaining mental health and wellbeing. In joining Breathing Space, you can stay connected virtually.


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Eligibility Criteria, Terms, Privacy & Conduct

Eligibility Criteria

Breathing Space communities function as ‘closed groups.’ This means that in order to join a specific community, a person will need to share common issues, experiences, or concerns with the people in that group. This will allow members to connect and socialise with others who are experiencing similar or related challenges or concerns, while being supported by clinicians. This sort of community offers greater privacy and confidentiality than an ‘open’ network.

To register, you will need to meet the eligibility criteria of the group. The Family and Friends Support Program Breathing Space group is for Australian adults, aged 18 years or over, who are supporting an adult loved one with alcohol and/or drug use.

Register your participation in the network here. We will include you in the online community that is most relevant to your experiences.

Code of Conduct

You will have free online access to Breathing Space 7 days a week, 24 hours per day. Before you register with the network, it is important that you familiarise yourself with the group guidelines (see below). These guidelines are focused on making sure that the community is a safe and helpful place for you to share and receive information and support with others, which helps to ensure that the community operates as it should.

To get the most out of the community, everyone needs to understand and follow the group guidelines to make it a safe and helpful place for everyone. By joining Breathing Space, you agree:

  • To be authentic and honest in your interactions with other peers in the community;
  • To ‘own what you post’ in regard to the content or comments that you make in the community forum. Although you have the right to maintain anonymity, remember to not post content (i.e. comments) that you would not be prepared to say in person;
  • To treat people well and with respect. Don’t engage in negative comments, as Breathing Space will not tolerate posts that are offensive, inciting, threatening, insulting, or encouraging of negative behaviour and
  • To not post copyrighted content or material such as posts that advertise products or businesses.

You are solely responsible for any content or material that you post or upload on the FFSP Breathing Space community forum, or that is posted by another person using your username or password. Breathing Space and UoN excludes all liability (to the extent permitted by law) for any loss, damage, or expenses suffered by you or claims made against you arising from content or material which you post or upload, or which is posted by another person (whether using your username or password or otherwise).

Please remember that the forum is a virtual space to connect with, and seek support from, other people with lived experience of supporting someone with alcohol or drug use. While there will be regular monitoring of the posted content and some input by Psychologists and Social Workers (Moderators) it is not a counselling or individual support service. The Moderator will be able to provide you with some assistance by directing you to other services, but they cannot be your personal therapist.

Acknowledgement and Acceptance of Terms and Use

The ‘Terms of Use’ for Breathing Space aim to govern your use of this online community. Your access to and use of the Breathing Space app, which is owned and operated by the University of Newcastle (UoN), is reliant on your acceptance of these Terms of Use.

By accessing Breathing Space, you accept and consent to, without limitation or qualification, all of the Terms of Use. You will also accept and consent to, without limitation or qualification, all of the rules enclosed in the Code of Conduct. Before downloading and using Breathing Space, please look over the Terms of Use and The Code of Conduct carefully.

UoN reserves the right to amend these Terms of Use without notice to you at any time, however, the emended Terms of Use will be updated and available on this page. Your access to Breathing Space will commence upon our acceptance of your application for registration, which will be confirmed to you via email and/or SMS.

Is my Information Private?

UoN has an obligation to ensure your privacy and confidentiality when accessing the Breathing Space community. Your information will be completely confidential and any personal details, which may identify you, will not be passed on to third parties. Please be aware that the UoN and Breathing Space will not disclose or use content that you post to the network, except:

  • in the use of website analytics to monitor the volume of traffic on the network;
  • to investigate possible breaches of these Terms of Use;
  • if the law requires or authorises the use or disclosure of content that you post;
  • if disclosure is reasonably necessary to enable an enforcement body (i.e. police) to perform its function.

Disclaimer and Limitation of Liability

Breathing Space is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis. UoN and Breathing Space make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the information, content or material included on the community forum. By engaging and using the app, you are expressly agreeing that your use of Breathing Space is solely at your own risk. You should always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health or mental health provider with any questions you have regarding a medical or mental health condition. You should never disregard professional medical or mental health advice or delay seeking it because of a result provided by anything you read on Breathing Space community forum.

Access to an ownership of Breathing Space

The Content in Breathing Space is protected by copyright, trademark and other intellectual property laws and the rights of UoN and/or their third-party licensors. You obtain no interest in the Breathing Space Content.

The content, material, logos, and illustrations provided in Breathing Space are the property of Breathing Space, and UoN, and may not be reproduced or redistributed or otherwise used for any other purpose without permission. You must not modify, copy, reproduce, republish, frame, upload to a third party, post, transmit, distribute, or communicate to the public the Content (or a substantial part of it) in any way except as expressly provided for in these Terms of Use or under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) or other applicable laws.

You are granted the right to view Breathing Space Content using your web browser and mobile phone for your own personal use.

By submitting content or materials to Breathing Space, you consent to UoN exercising all rights in respect of such content or materials as are set out in these Terms of Use even if the exercise of such rights would, but for this consent, infringe any moral rights that you may have in such content or materials.

Quality of Information

Any errors in the content that are brought to our attention will be corrected as soon as possible. UoN reserve the right to change any content on Breathing Space at any time without notice.


By clicking through to register for Breathing Space, you accept and consent to, without limitation or qualification, all of the Terms of Use. You will also accept and consent to, without limitation or qualification, all of the rules enclosed in the Code of Conduct.

Join the Breathing Space online Community