Alcohol Awareness Week 2020
In recognition of this year's awareness week PCC Hardyal Dhindsa, Alcohol & Substance Misuse Lead and PCC Matthew Scott, Mental Health & Custody Lead, have made the following joint statement:
This year’s Alcohol Awareness Week takes place during what is an extraordinary time with the populations of England and Wales under significant lockdown restrictions.
In more recent times, Alcohol Awareness Week has predominantly focussed upon links between alcohol abuse and our night time economies, with violence and more longer term health concerns emphasised.
This theme for this year is Alcohol and Mental Health and with a second lockdown underway the theme could not be more relevant.
Research taken from charity DrinkAware, who surveyed over 9,000 adults following the first lockdown, effectively demonstrates the significant risks alcohol and mental health pose to society. For example, DrinkAware’s study shows 26% of people reported their alcohol consumption had increased during the first lockdown, and for drinkers who already drink at ‘higher risk’ levels the increase in alcohol consumption was 46%. Furthermore, 37% of respondents to the survey gave stress and anxiety as reasons for their increased drinking.
The links between alcohol abuse and mental health are clear and have been for some time. The onset of lockdown and fears for health, financial security and reduced opportunities to socialise due to the necessary social distancing requirements represent a major risk. This is why it is extremely important that we recognise the signs of alcohol abuse and ill mental health in ourselves and those close to us. As APCC leads for Alcohol and Substance Misuse and Mental Health, we urge those in need to make contact with local services and seek appropriate support.
During the first lockdown we witnessed an incredible effort from invaluable support services as they strived to maintain essential care for vulnerable people in a safe manner. Once again the same services will be ready and waiting for your call if you need them.
For further details of mental health and alcohol abuse support services please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/ and https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/alcohol-support/
Note: DrinkAware’s 2020 Monitor Report can be accessed here: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/research/drinkaware-monitor-2020-drinking-and-the-coronavirus-pandemic