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Big increase in people seeking advice about alcohol during pandemic says council

Warwickshire County Council is highlighting the link between alcohol and mental health as part of Alcohol Awareness Week, which begins on Monday.

Public Health England data suggests that a third of adults in Warwickshire drink more than the recommended 14 units a week and the county council’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.

Those web figures show 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.

The council is encouraging people to look after themselves during this difficult time and is suggesting other activities which could reduce alcohol intake and have a positive effect on mental and physical wellbeing.

Ideas include catching up with friends of family via video calls and trying online classes to improve your physical health (advice is available at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/coronavirusactive).

Going for a walk at the end of the day if working from home or picking up a new skill or hobby can also help.

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.”

CGL is a free and confidential drug and alcohol service for adults, more information can be found at: https://www.changegrowlive.org/drug-alcohol-service-warwickshire

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: https://www.compass-uk.org/services/warwickshire-cypdas/

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

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