Mental Health Awareness Week: mental health and alcohol

Maddy Lawson | May 2020 | 8 minutes

Managing your drinking is a key part of looking after your mental health, so for this year's Mental Health Awareness Week we've brought together stories, tips and information about alcohol and mental health.

Get the facts

Alcohol and mental health factsheet

What effects does drinking really have on your mental health? This factsheet offers the evidence for the links between alcohol and depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. Read the factsheet.

Evidence roundup

In this blog, two researchers at the University of Liverpool's addiction research group explain the existing research on the links between mental health and alcohol use, what the current gaps in research are and how we should provide appropriate treatment. Read the blog.

Tips and advice for during lockdown

Top tips for looking after your mental health during lockdown

In times of stress we can find ourselves drinking more often or heavily - but that can make things worse. In this blog, find tips for alcohol-free ways to manage your mental health during lockdown. Read the blog.

Tips from our online community

We asked some of our online community of people who moderate or don’t drink at all for some of their top tips for managing their drinking and mental health during the coronavirus pandemic. "Give yourself the gift of ‘you time’. It doesn't have to be big - a walk, a bath, or an online exercise class can be enough to restore the balance and distract you from thoughts of drinking." Read more.

Ten alcohol-free ways to soothe your anxiety

In this blog, best-selling author Catherine Gray shares what works for her when it comes to relieving stress without adding alcohol to the mix. "If you’re anything like me, one of your biggest drinking triggers was / is: anxiety. So, what to do?" Read Catherine's tips.


Claire's story


Claire was in £15k of debt and having suicidal thoughts. She felt like she was living in chaos. Alcohol helped her cope with the difficult times, but she soon realised she had developed a problem with drinking. In the end, a major life change (moving to a different place and starting a new job) was the catalyst for helping her get her life back on track. "I was feeling so low I was having suicidal thoughts. I’ve got the most amazing family and friends a person could wish for and had the best upbringing, yet I didn’t know where to turn and nothing I did was helping." Read Claire's story.

Sonia's story


Sonia initially started drinking with friends to socialise. But as time went on, her relationship with alcohol became more sinister. People in her community started noticing her behaviour, and gossip started to spread. Sonia felt so low she thought the world would be a better place without her in it. After a suicide attempt, she vowed she would never touch alcohol again. "Alcohol became an escape from reality for me. Which is quite ironic as I had always been a realist up until that point." Read Sonia's story.

Karl's story


In this blog, Karl explores masculinity, drinking and mental health - why is it that some men only feel able to share their true feelings over a pint, and is there anything we can do to change that? "If there's one thing men are great at doing, it's hiding emotions, because our emotions are seen by some as an affront to masculinity." Read Karl's story.

Gareth's story

When Gareth moved away from home to pursue a career in broadcasting, his drinking increased. It gave him some relief from his insecurities and poor mental health. But that relief was temporary, and slowly things started to get worse. In the end, his sheer determination to get better, along with a supportive medical team, helped him stop drinking. "When I moved away, the drinking built and built as part of the work culture, helping me hide from my insecurities and poor mental health." Read Gareth's story.

Steve's story

Steve DJ 1

Steve took part in Dry January for both physical and mental health reasons. He found he had become an anxious person, subject to tiredness and depressive episodes. After a month of Dry January, he felt a lot better, and with a calmer outlook on life. "I was conscious of not being able to manage the demands of family and professional life very well. I was not sleeping well, and waking up tired... The noticeable difference now, almost a year later, is that I drink much less, and certainly not every night as I did before. My health and well-being are both better, and it is very rare nowadays for me to 'overdo' it with drink." Read Steve's story.

Thinking Man
This year's Alcohol Awareness Week, which will take place in November 2020, is on the theme of alcohol and mental health.
Find out more