Drinkaware, the national charity working to reduce and prevent the misuse of alcohol in Ireland, is offering a free mental health resource to the public. The resource is available to order online and will be sent directly to you free of charge.
The 2021 Drinkaware Barometer found that 61% of adults in Ireland cite coping as a reason to drink alcohol*, but this can have unintended consequences. The negative impact of alcohol on mental health is significant. It can contribute to the development and/or worsening of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
Mental well-being is examined in the annual Drinkaware Barometer survey and the findings indicate that mental well-being has stabilised throughout the pandemic with 35% reporting low mental well-being in 2021 versus 37% in 2020**. However, it is important to note that the rate of low mental well-being reported in 2018 pre the pandemic was at 11%.
January can be a difficult time for our mental health, now more so than ever. In the lead-up to Christmas, Drinkaware resource orders increased by over 1000%. Our resilience has been tested over the past two years, but more and more people are taking positive steps to look after their health.
The Drinkaware Alcohol and Your Mental Health booklet contains facts about alcohol’s impact on mental health, and advice to develop healthy coping strategies without alcohol. It also explains why your mental health can be negatively impacted by alcohol.
The risk of these impacts increases when an individual is drinking above the HSE low-risk weekly guidelines for alcohol. Only 2-3% of Irish adults are aware of these guidelines**, making it difficult for people to consider the potential impact of their drinking on their mental health. Regularly drinking more than the HSE low-risk weekly guidelines interferes with chemicals in the brain needed for strong, balanced mental health.
Some of our top tips in this guide include:
- Keep Learning: Learning about the HSE low-risk weekly guidelines will help you create a healthier relationship with alcohol
- Get Active: Regular exercise can improve your mental and physical health
- Connect: Making an effort to re-connect with friends and family nourishes your mental and emotional health
- Take up a new hobby: Doing something you enjoy is a healthy coping mechanism during times of difficulty
- Take notice: Meditating or practising yoga give you the space to acknowledge and understand your feelings
- Give: Do something nice for a loved one, or for a total stranger. Doing good for others does good for your own mental health.
CEO for Drinkaware Sheena Horgan commented, “We all know the ongoing pandemic has had a tremendous impact on our mental health as a nation. The findings from the Drinkaware Annual Barometer from both 2022 and 2021 bear this out, with a significant drop in self-reported levels of high well-being. The 25–34-year-old age group are most likely to report low mental well-being as are those who report their alcohol consumption has increased in the past 12 months.
The Drinkaware Alcohol & Your Mental Health booklet is a public health resource for anyone who feels they need information on how alcohol can affect their mental health, along with tips and advice for how to maintain, protect and improve your mental health and well-being. We have all had our resilience tested during the past two years, and this resource could be a