News Release: Health Unit Encourages Residents to Seek Help to Lower Alcohol Use During Pandemic
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Radio And Social Media Ads Highlight How The Conditions Of COVID-19 May Lead To Increased Alcohol Use And Where To Get Help To Prevent Dependence
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, July 16th, 2020 | 2:00 p.m. | Windsor-Essex County
The pandemic blues can affect anyone. Boredom, isolation, or stress may lead individuals to consume more alcohol than normal, but there is help in our community for those who need help to lower their alcohol use. That is one of the messages being delivered in a new communication strategy being launched this week by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
The strategy uses radio and social media advertisements to help residents understand when their own or their loved one’s drinking has become problematic, as well as linking residents to helplines and local organizations which support those struggling with alcohol use. Prior to the pandemic, alcohol ranked as the number one contributor to substance-related emergency department visits and EMS calls in Windsor-Essex. The conditions of social isolation, boredom, financial and job insecurity brought about by the pandemic have impacted the population in a significant way, putting stress on our mental health and leading to unhealthy coping strategies, such as alcohol use.
While the effects of COVID-19 and the measures being taken to reduce its spread are at the top of most peoples’ minds, the consequences of the pandemic extend beyond the direct effects of the virus. Melissa Valentik, Health Promotion Specialist, says a big concern is that the conditions of the pandemic may create a larger concern of alcohol dependence in our community, “The pandemic has disrupted many of our social support networks and routines, and added challenges to our lives that may be overwhelming, leading individuals to drink more than before. Alcohol is a depressant and can also harm not only our health, but cause problems in our relationships and at work.”
Valentik says that while some people may use alcohol to cope with current challenges, alcohol negatively affects our mental health and makes it harder to handle our problems, “we have a lot of great support right here in Windsor-Essex for anyone feeling overwhelmed and struggling with their alcohol use. You do not have to suffer and deal with this alone.”