COVID-19 has created great uncertainty for many Australians, particularly in relation to our health, well-being, general feelings of stability and financial security.
While restrictions are beginning to ease, the continued uncertainty means that some people may still be experiencing increased stress and anxiety.
DrinkWise has created videos featuring our Ambassador, Dr Andrew Rochford, reminding Australians about the dangers of excessive drinking during times of extreme stress.
Dr Rochford explains that while some people may be tempted to turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism, this won’t help and may make the situation worse. He emphasises the importance, for those who choose to drink, of drinking in moderation. He also reminds us that it’s essential parents continue to be good role models, particularly if choosing to consume alcohol in front of their children.
Dr Rochford features in a series of three videos:
- Drinking in moderation during COVID-19: acknowledging that the implications of COVID-19 can create stress and anxiety, encouraging people not to use alcohol as a short-term fix and reminding Australians to reach out to support one another.
- Parental influence: reminding parents about the importance of being a good role model for their children. You can get further information here.
- Australian alcohol guidelines: addressing the importance of moderation during uncertain times, reminding Australians about the alcohol guidelines and urging them to seek help if needed. The recently proposed Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol recommend that Australians should only consume 10 standard drinks per week and no more than four standard drinks during any one day.
Keeping track of your drinks is important, as alcoholic drinks come in different strengths and serving sizes. This can be harder when having a drink at home, where we often ‘free pour’ rather than using standard measure pours like at pubs and restaurants. The DrinkWise Standard Drinks Calculator can assist in keeping track of how many drinks you have consumed.
If you are looking for ways to reduce your drinking, there are a number of concrete measures you can take, such as:
- setting yourself limits and sticking to them
- drinking a glass of water or something non-alcoholic between alcoholic drinks
- choosing low or zero alcohol drinks.
DrinkWise has also worked with Dr Andrew Rochford to create a series of videos aimed at answering common questions around alcohol consumption during COVID-19, such as:
- Is drinking more in isolation normal?
- Does alcohol weaken your immunity to COVID-19?
- Is it normal to miss the pub?
- Will the kids really take any notice if we are drinking more during isolation?
In addition to this activity, DrinkWise partnered with the New South Wales Police Force, Northern Territory Police Force and the Australian Capital Territory Police Force to create resources which acknowledge that while Australians are facing the uncertainty of COVID-19 and may be feeling stressed and anxious, consuming alcohol as a coping mechanism is not the answer.
Through messaging on social media and radio stations, we encouraged anyone who is concerned about theirs or others’ drinking, to seek help and advice from organisations such as Beyond Blue (1800 512 348), 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) and the Men’s Referral Service (1300 766 491).
Research conducted by YouGov of over 11,000 people in nine countries (May 2020) for the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) has revealed that 84% are drinking the same or less during shutdown. This is supported by Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) research, which shows that 86% of Australians were consuming the same amount of alcohol, or less, during COVID-19 (research undertaken in April-May 2020).
DrinkWise research conducted in April 2020 has shown that Australians are actively looking after their physical and mental health, with 77% of Australians maintaining their previous levels of exercise or doing more and 73% taking active steps to look after their mental wellbeing.
Beyond Blue’s dedicated COVID-19 Mental Wellbeing Support Service, funded by the Australian Government, is a free 24-hour helpline (1800 512 348), available to support all people in Australia to manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their mental health and wellbeing.
Further telephone and counselling services can be found here.
For further information about COVID-19:
- visit the Australian Government Department of Health website
- download the Australian Government mobile app – search “Coronavirus Australia” in the Apple App Store and on Google Play
- access the Australian Government’s WhatsApp alerts by messaging +61 400 253 787 or go to http://aus.gov.au/whatsapp in your web browser.