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New campaign highlights link between alcohol and mental health

Doncaster women who may be exceeding safe drinking limits are being targeted in a new public health campaign to promote this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week (16-22 November 2020).

Research has found that this age group in particular is suffering from mental health problems like anxiety and depression and the message is that services in Doncaster are ready to help.

Health chiefs want to make people aware that, although alcohol can give a short-term boost to confidence, the downside is that long-term drinking can worsen anxiety, depression and other mental health problems.

Twinned with this is their message that many people suffering from mental health issues often reach for alcohol as a way of coping, although it may worsen their problems.

To help assess individual drinking levels, mental health experts from Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust’s (RDaSH) Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) team have added an online test/checker at which only takes a few minutes to complete.

Kyla Bowman, Clinical Lead of the Doncaster IAPT team, said: “The campaign targets women who are using alcohol to help or cope with mental health problems.

“The online checker will have a dual role. It will signpost to IAPT those who are using alcohol to try and manage mental problems, or to the local Aspire Drug and Alcohol service those whose mental health problems are potentially being caused by excessive drinking.”

Research points to alcohol misuse being the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49 year olds in the UK, and the fifth biggest risk factor across all ages.

Alcohol Change UK, co-ordinator of this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week, reported that while the price of alcohol has increased by 28 per cent over the past 10 years, in real terms it remains 74 per cent more affordable than it was in 1987.

RDaSH will be releasing a series of special video clips and messages on social media channels during the week, which will be shared by partner organisations to maximise the campaign’s impact.

Andy Collins, from Doncaster’s Alcohol Alliance – a partnership of local organisations working together to reduce the harm caused by alcohol – said: “The campaign provides an opportunity for people to review and rethink their drinking and to see if it is impacting on their mental health, or vice versa.

“We have excellent services in Doncaster that can help, so if anyone is worried about their drinking please get in touch.”

Contact numbers:

IAPT – 01302 565556

Aspire Drug & Alcohol Services – 01302 730956