Home Coronavirus: Help and support Alcohol Awareness Week: Alcohol and Mental Health
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Alcohol Awareness Week: Alcohol and Mental Health

by Sandra Issar

The pandemic is making everything a little bit more difficult right now and when stress and worry creep into our lives, our drinking habits and our mental health can suffer.

When things get tough, we can find ourselves turning to alcohol to cope but drinking too much and too often can make our mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, worse – and prevent them from being properly addressed by people seeking help and support.

Research shows that more than a quarter of people who drink alcohol think they’ve been drinking more during lockdown. What’s more one in five people surveyed said they had drunk alcohol as a way to handle stress or anxiety during lockdown.

As part of Alcohol Awareness Week, 16 to 22 November, we are sharing some top tips which can help you cut down on the amount of alcohol you drink.

Tips for drinking less

  • Drink and think in units. It’s recommended not to drink more than 14 units per week; that’s about six pints of normal strength beer or six standard glasses of wine.
  • Have a few days off every week. It’s a good way to cut down and give your body a rest
  • Try lower strength alternatives. Or alcohol-free beers, ciders and wines are now widely available
  • Stick to one drink with your evening meal. Just pour one drink and put it away, don’t leave the bottle on the table.
  • Keep a drinking diary. Recording what you drink for a few weeks will help you understand your drinking pattern, so you can decide if you want to make a change. Download the free Try Dry appto help you keep track.
  • Ask for help If you would like more support and advice visit the
    Healthy Knowsley website to find out about getting support to cut down.

Mental health support

If you’re  feeling anxious, worried, feeling low or having problems sleeping there’s lots of advice and resources to help you on the Kind to Your Mind website. The website links to NHS Every Mind Matters which has expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health.  The website also links to ALMA, where you can access a range of free online therapy programmes which include short modules on dealing with stress, getting better sleep, improving resilience and coping with your emotions.

For people in need of urgent mental health support in Knowsley there is a 24/7 helpline number: 0800 051 1508.

Cllr Sean Donnelly, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said:

The pandemic has been challenging for everyone in different ways but turning to alcohol to relax and unwind can impact your mental and physical health if you start drinking too much and too often. You should never feel like you’re alone as there’s lots of support available if you need help with your mental health or cutting back on your drinking.”

Dr Richard Piper, Chief Executive of Alcohol Change UK, said:

Many of us are under an unbelievable amount of stress due to the coronavirus pandemic. We’re seeing that those of us who are drinking more heavily are at real risk of worsening our mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, along with many other health conditions, as we turn to alcohol to cope.

 

The good news is that being in control of our drinking can improve our mental health, and there are plenty of techniques out there for taking control if your drinking has got a bit out of hand, including our free Try Dry app.”

Find out more about Alcohol Awareness Week by visiting the Alcohol Change UK website and for advice and support on drinking less visit the Healthy Knowsley website.