The South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust (SWYMHT) is urging local people to be aware of the effect alcohol can have on mental health as Mental Health Action Week (18-22nd April) comes to an end.
Mental Health Action Week is an annual campaign organised by the Mental Health Foundation. This year the theme of the week was the link between alcohol and mental health. They are asking individuals to think about why they drink and how alcohol affects their emotional and mental well-being.
Angie Hand is a psychiatric nurse who works as an Alcohol Specialist Senior Practitioner at SWYMHT – her job is to treat people who have mental health and alcohol problems.
She says, "People aren’t aware of the damaging affect alcohol can have on your mental health. Often people use alcohol to self medicate – individuals might feel anxious or lack self-esteem and they feel alcohol gives them a confidence-boost. But with long-term misuse, alcohol can lead to depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. Up to a 1,000 suicides per year can be linked with alcohol misuse and individuals with psychiatric problems are twice as likely to be alcohol dependant than the general population.
Angie continues, "Childcare and social work teams estimate that at least 50% and up to 90% of parents on their caseload have alcohol and/or drug or mental health problems and in 1998/99 there were 78,900 NHS hospital admissions for mental and behavioural problems due to alcohol."
If you have concerns about your mental health or your alcohol intake contact your GP.