Bath & North East Somerset Council is supporting Alcohol Awareness Week 2017 (13-19 November), which will focus this year on encouraging individuals and their families to start a conversation about problematic alcohol misuse. The national campaign aims to break the cycle of silence and stigma that is often experienced by families of individuals who regularly drink to excess.
There are currently over 10 million people in England drinking at levels which increase their risk of health harm. Alcohol related harm is estimated to cost the NHS £3.5 billion annually and the latest data for Bath and North East Somerset shows around 3,300 admissions to hospital for illness or injury resulting from alcohol-related harm in 2015/16.
Across the period 2013/14 – 2015/16, there were 55 admissions to hospital for under 18-year-olds for alcohol misuse in B&NES – higher than the average for England. The local figure has decreased from 88 in the 2008/9 – 2010/11 period.
Among those aged 15 to 49 in England, alcohol is now the leading risk factor for ill-health, early mortality and disability and the fifth-leading risk factor for ill health across all age groups. In 2014 there were an estimated 23,000 deaths related to alcohol use in England.
Dr Bruce Laurence, Director of Public Health for Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “We fully recognise how hard it is for families to ask for help when they are affected by a loved one’s use of alcohol because of the stigma attached to it. We have high quality support services locally and I would urge anyone who is affected by this to pop in for a chat or give them a call. They are an open and friendly service available free to everyone without judgement.
“B&NES Council supports Alcohol Concern’s aim to support families who are struggling to cope with the effect of harmful drinking on their loved ones. If you want to speak to someone about a family member suffering from the effects of alcohol harm, you can contact our local service Families Also Matter (FAM) on 01225 329411.”
Below is the experience of a Families Also Matter service user in Bath and North East Somerset (October 2017);
“Gradually we became aware that our daughter was caught in the trap of alcohol addiction and didn’t know how to get out. Following two seizures and loss of job and relationships she became seriously unwell and unable to work. She returned to live at home. Where do you go from there?
“So on a Friday afternoon, I walked into DHI and asked for a conversation. Two hours later I was assured of support both for our family and our daughter. Help to be available for as long as it takes to find restoration of health and wellbeing – no time limit.
“That was in June this year and regular attendance at DHI both for my daughter and myself has been an absolute Godsend. From not knowing how to tackle things and being constantly overwhelmed by the problems to being able to take one day at a time and work things out with others has provided the strength required to walk this difficult life journey.
“Both group work and one-to-one support is available. If this is you don’t try and do it alone, but come along and find others to do it with you. I cannot recommend DHI highly enough – it is a brilliant free service in Bath and I am so thankful for it.”
If you are concerned about your own or someone else’s drinking you can contact (in confidence): DHI Bath 01225 329411 http://www.dhi-online.org.uk/.
If you want to speak to someone about a family member suffering from the effects of alcohol harm, you can contact our local service Families Also Matter (FAM) on 01225 329411.
Alcohol misuse – the UK facts and figures
· Harmful drinking is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK, and the fifth biggest risk factor across all ages
· Alcohol is estimated to cost the NHS £3.5 billion annually
While overall levels of consumption are falling, around 2.5 million people drink more than 14 units on their heaviest-drinking days
Around 200,000 children in England live with an alcohol-dependent adult
In 2014 there were around 1,719 alcohol dependent adults living in Bath and North East Somerset
For information on events throughout Alcohol Awareness Week and downloadable resources for the public please visit: http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/public-health/one-you/drink-less.
For information on reducing the harm from alcohol please see: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/drinking#RPIddblXMoR4Zoel.97