Alcohol Action Ireland and Mental Health Ireland are teaming up to tackle the harmful effects of alcohol on our mental health.
Recognising the connection between alcohol use and mental health, Alcohol Action Ireland and Mental Health Ireland have established a working partnership to develop policy that will target the damaging impact of alcohol on our mental health.
Martin Rogan, CEO of Mental Health Ireland said, “This partnership recognises the considerable co-morbidity between alcohol harm and mental health challenges.
“The research is clear; many Irish people seek the short-term refuge of alcohol at a time of personal difficulty or crisis, which can compound their original difficulty, as alcohol is a depressant.
At the more severe end of the scale, the co-existence of alcohol problems and mental ill-health is often referred to as “dual diagnosis,” and, for example, people with severe and enduring mental illnesses such as schizophrenia are at least three times as likely to become alcohol dependant as the general population.”
Mr Rogan continued that it is not only people with diagnosed mental health problems whose mental health can be impacted by alcohol use. The links between alcohol use and mental health problems have been identified in a wide range of population cohorts,
“At Mental Health Ireland, we want people to become more conscious of their relationship with alcohol, if it has moved from being associated with a social or special occasion, there is a risk of a growing dependency. For example, we also know that Irish women are drinking more, and more often, than previous generations. Women with addiction problems may too have experienced domestic violence, further increasing their risk of experiencing mental health difficulties and indeed hampering their recovery from addition.
Young people’s mental health is also at risk from harmful alcohol use. 1 in 6 young people suffer the unnecessary impact of alcohol related harms. This means it is likely that today at least 200,000 children in Ireland are living in families where parental alcohol misuse is a frequent event.”
Dr. Sheila Gilheany, CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland said, “We recognise that health, and in particular, mental health, is influenced by a myriad of different factors. Given the clear overlap between alcohol misuse and mental health problems, and the fact that this association tends to get overlooked in policy, practice and research, coherent and collaborative advocacy is required in this area.
“Given the weight of evidence and research about the effects of alcohol on mental health across the lifespan, and indeed across generations, we believe a more joined up approach to tackling alcohol-related harms is hugely important. By working together, we hope to influence and shape public policy on these issues.”
Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI) is a non-governmental organisation who act as an expert independent voice for policy change on alcohol-related issues, advocating to reduce levels of alcohol harm in Ireland and improve public health, safety and wellbeing.
Mental Health Ireland (MHI) is a national voluntary organisation network of over 40 Mental Health Associations throughout the country promoting positive mental health and wellbeing to individuals and communities.