Alcohol Awareness Week: Time to act

November 2020 | 7 minutes

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on our mental health and wellbeing with lots of us feeling more anxious than usual. This can cause some of us to drink more than we would like which can in turn make our anxiety worse.

Our recent survey has found that 1 in 3 drinkers experiences a negative mental health effect from drinking, at least once a month. So it's likely that even if you don't experience negative effects on your own mental health, a family member, friend or colleague will.

So take the time this Alcohol Awareness Week to do something positive to try to improve your mental health. Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Cut down in a way that suits you

Even if you feel you’ve got into drinking habits that are hard to break, finding a way to cut down can help you feel better. Why not consider taking a break like having a Dry January or cutting down in a way that works for you? Managing your drinking is a great way to give your body a rest and to reset your relationship with alcohol and look after your mental health. Download the free Try Dry app to help you get started.

If you’d like some more support to help manage your drinking, there are many excellent local services that can help. They take a range of approaches and can help you work towards your goal – whether that’s drinking less or not drinking at all. You can find out more here.

2. Get talking

There remains far too much stigma around mental health, and our recent survey suggests that the stigma surrounding alcohol problems runs far deeper. This can make us more reluctant to talk to others about our own or a loved one’s drinking and be a huge barrier in getting those of us who are struggling to seek support.

So let’s come together and start talking more openly about our drinking to help break the silence and stigma. A great place to start is by sharing your story with others and by sharing your experiences and concerns with your friends and family so that you can feel more connected and get the help and support that you deserve.

3. Raising concerns with friends or family

If you’re worried about a loved one’s drinking, there are some things you can do to raise this with them.

It’s important not to criticise or blame someone for their drinking. So when you’re thinking about raising your concerns consider how you might talk to them with empathy and understanding, and let them know the effect that their drinking is having on you.

Whether it’s your own or a loved one’s drinking, speaking openly about the problems you are facing and asking for support is one of the bravest and best things you can do.

Find ways to support your loved one and find support for you.

4. Make a difference

Giving to others

Doing something for others can be a great way to create a sense of self-worth and can really boost your mental health and mood.

Small acts of kindness can go a very long way. Why not consider volunteering your time or supporting a family member, friend or neighbour with some practical help or simply spend some time with them to give them the opportunity to talk?

Helping to reduce alcohol harm

Every year in the UK alcohol-related harm leads to thousands of lives lost, and hundreds of thousands more damaged. But change is possible and is urgently needed.

If you’d like to reduce the harm caused by alcohol, why not sign up to become a campaigner with Alcohol Change UK? By signing up you will receive news about our campaigns and how you can make a difference. Sign up now to find out more!

Whatever you decide to do this Alcohol Awareness Week, take the time to do something positive and special for you.

Find ways to manage your drinking