Minister Corcoran Kennedy warns of the dangers of alcohol misuse to our mental health
In the Oireachtas last night during a debate on mental health funding, Minister of State Marcella Corcoran Kennedy highlighted the links between the unhealthy consumption of alcohol and mental health issues, in particular self-harm and suicide.
The issue of mental health and alcohol is particularly relevant in the run-up to and the period over Christmas and the New Year.
During difficult times in life, people sometimes turn to alcohol or other drugs to help them cope. But alcohol and drug use can also damage your mental health. Reducing the amount of alcohol you drink will have a positive impact on your health and mental wellbeing.
She recommended that people should examine the HSE’s yourmentalhealth.ie website, which deals with the issue of mental health, alcohol and drugs. This site also outlines where to find supports and services.
The Minister stated in the debate, “Three people a day are dying as a result of alcohol misuse, or 1,056 people annually. We must never forget that alcohol is a psychoactive drug and a depressant, if one consumes more than the body can process. It is a drug that reduces a person’s ability to think rationally and distorts his or her judgment. In the long term it can cause mental health problems, leading to anxiety, stress, potentially depression and, sadly, suicide.”
“Alcohol is a contributory factor in half of all suicides and in deliberate self-harm; in 2014 one in three self-harm presentations were alcohol-related. We need to reduce our alcohol intake as a nation and the forthcoming Public Health (Alcohol) Bill will help to address this.
The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill provides for:
- minimum unit pricing to eliminate very cheap alcohol from stores
- health labelling on alcohol products to inform consumers
- separation of alcohol products in stores to reduce availability and visibility
- restrictions on advertising and marketing
- regulation of sponsorship
- regulation relating to the sale, supply and consumption of alcohol products.
The Bill remains a priority for this Government and commenced Committee Stage in the Seanad on the 26th October.”