ALCOHOL AWARENESS WEEK 2020: SPEAKING UP ABOUT ALCOHOL AND MENTAL HEALTH

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, our partner Warwickshire County Council (WCC) is raising awareness of the link between alcohol and mental health during Alcohol Awareness Week between 16 – 22 November. 

Public Health England data suggests that a third of adults in Warwickshire drink more than the recommended 14 units a week. WCC’s adult drug and alcohol treatment service Change, Grow, Live Warwickshire (CGL) saw a huge increase  in people visiting their alcohol information pages during lockdown, showing that more people are taking a positive step in thinking about their drinking habits and seeking support. 

It’s clear that this year has been difficult for everyone and people may find comfort in an alcoholic drink in these times of increased pressure, however, research conducted by Alcohol Change UK shows that increased alcohol intake worsens mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. 

As the restrictions continue, it’s important to be kind to ourselves. We might reach for a cheeky tipple to calm our nerves but finding other ways to look after ourselves which reduce our alcohol intake will have a positive effect on our mental and physical wellbeing. 

Some ideas could be:

  • Connecting with family and friends more through video chatting and phone calls
  • Keeping up with our physical health while at home with online classes and videos -  more advice on keeping physical during the pandemic can be found here
  • Going for a walk after working from home to establish the end of the day and take notice of your surroundings and nature
  • Picking up a new skill or hobby like reading, knitting or watching films

Warwickshire County Councillor Les Caborn, portfolio holder for Adult Social Care and Health, said: ‘Many of us are under extreme pressure as the coronavirus pandemic continues and it’s understandable that some may go to alcohol as a way to cope – but alcohol does not always have to be the answer, and there is support should you need it.

‘Alcohol Awareness Week aims to raise awareness of the link between alcohol and mental health, to speak out about the issues and the stigma surrounding them and encourage anyone who is struggling to seek the support they deserve.

‘We are reminding residents that support with alcohol and mental health is always available, even in these difficult times. I would encourage anyone who is worried about their alcohol intake, or if you’re worried about someone else, to seek help and support.’ 

It’s okay not to feel okay and it’s brave to seek help and support with drinking. 

CGL is a free and confidential drug and alcohol service for adults, more information can be found here

Compass is a free, confidential substance misuse service for children and young people who need support around their own or another person’s drug or alcohol use. The service works with anyone between 5 and 25 years of age in Warwickshire. Seek help here

For further information about mental health support from Warwickshire County Council, visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/coronavirushealth

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