Men encouraged to examine relationship with alcohol during annual Men’s Health Week

Men’s Health Forum in Ireland launches the annual Men’s Health Week today (Monday, 12th June).

Commencing the Monday before Father’s Day and rounding up the day of Father’s Day itself, Men’s Health Forum in Ireland and Alcohol Action Ireland are emboldening men to challenge the industry prescribed mainstay of alcohol as an integral ingredient for good times (and bad). This Men’s Health Week presents ‘The Picture of Health’ as its theme. We hope men will examine how alcohol fits into their own picture of health for themselves individually and collectively, to embrace moments of life without the necessity for an alcoholic beverage accompaniment.

Although there have been some decreases in the level of alcohol consumed in Ireland over the past two decades, we are still drinking at very high levels and in risky ways. In 2022, Ireland consumed per person: 12 bottles of gin/vodka as well as 227 cans of beer, 39 bottles of wine and 36 cans of cider. Data from the Health Research Board in 2021 found that young males were most likely to have hazardous or harmful drinking patterns. Among male drinkers aged 15–24 years, 63.1% engaged in monthly HED and 37.0% had an AUD. In addition, other research from the HRB indicates that many of us are unaware of the extent of our drinking. For example, among regular binge drinkers, only one person in three recognised that they regularly binge drink and one third of people who were dependent on alcohol described themselves as ‘light’ or ‘moderate’ drinkers. 

The harms of alcohol on both physical and mental health are well researched and proven with multiple impacts on areas including heart health, cancer, liver disease, depression and anxiety. In fact, the World Health Organisation recently declared that there is, no safe level of alcohol consumption.
 The harm an individual’s relationship with and consumption of alcohol has on others also plays a factor in considering our own “picture of health”.  

Some benefits of reducing alcohol intake include: 

  • More energy 
  • Improved mental clarity, focus and mental health 
  • Saving money! 
  • Reduction of alcohol-related health issues; better heart health; less fatty build-up around the liver and more 
  • Weight loss 
  • Sounder sleep 
  • Greater enjoyment of time with family and friends! 

Men’s Health Forum in Ireland have launched an engaging and detailed ‘Action Man’ booklet with top tips for men’s health. The section titled “It’s your shout” explores the health and social impacts of alcohol and delves into what you can do to enjoy life with less consumption of alcohol. 

Alcohol Action Ireland vice chairperson and consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr. Bobby Smyth said: 

“The picture of health” theme this week evokes an image of fulfilled life where alcohol does not need to take up too much of the frame. Drinking within low-risk guidelines will reduce your risk of harm from alcohol. There is no ‘safe’ or ‘healthy’ amount of alcohol, but the less you drink, the lower the risk to your health. Drinking more than the low-risk guidelines roughly doubles your risk of cirrhosis of the liver and also increases your risk of liver cancer. Many men see alcohol as a way to relax and de-stress. However, alcohol can make it harder to cope with day-to-day stresses. At first, alcohol can seem to lessen symptoms of low mood and anxiety, but continued drinking will cause these feelings to worsen.” 

Colin Fowler, Director of Operations with Men’s Health Forum in Ireland said:
“What we drink, and how much of it, makes a big difference to every part of our lives.  It can negatively affect our weight, cholesterol level, mood, concentration, relationships, productivity, wallet, behaviour, belly size and sleep patterns.  Men’s Health Week offers an ideal opportunity to rethink what we drink, and to envision what our ‘picture of health’ might look like without it.” 



The recommended weekly low-risk alcohol guidelines are less than: 

  • 11 standard drinks for women 
  • 17 standard drinks for men 

Drinks should be spread out over the week. 

Have 2 to 3 alcohol-free days per week. Drink no more than 6 standard drinks on any 1 occasion. 

The less you drink the lower your risk of developing alcohol-related health issues. 

What is in a standard drink 

In Ireland a standard drink has about 10 grams of pure alcohol. In the UK a standard drink, also called a unit of alcohol, has about 8 grams of pure alcohol. 

Some examples of a standard drink in Ireland are: 

  • a pub measure of spirits (35.5ml) 
  • a small glass of wine (12.5% volume) 
  • a half pint of normal beer 
  • an alcopop (275ml bottle) 

A bottle of 12.5% alcohol wine has about 7 standard drinks. 

For more hints and tips on reducing alcohol use including a drinks calculator – see the HSE alcohol site. 


For all media enquiries and interview requests, please contact:

Hannah-Alice Loughlin,

Advocacy and Communications Lead:

M: 087 995 0186

Other useful resources: Media guide re non-stigmatising language