A New Idea for a New Year


Many workplaces now encourage employees to take on a mental health first aid role – supporting colleagues to be open about mental health issues and signposting to support.  This is a vital role to aid peer support and encourage openness on a topic that still carries much stigma.

If you're still considering ideas for a work New Year's Resolution for 2018, how about training your mental health first aiders and health champions in alcohol awareness?

The links between alcohol and mental health are well known, with alcohol as a depressant drug often used to numb stress and anxiety. Individuals who suffer from anxiety or depression, and who drink, are twice as likely to be heavy drinkers.

In addition, there is a strong link between alcohol and suicide – 50% of suicides or suicide attempts are linked to prior heavy drinking and a fifth of women and over a quarter of men who self-harm have been drinking before hand.

It is very possible that your mental health first aiders and health champions may come across the issue of alcohol as well as stress, anxiety, depression and other concerns amongst their colleagues.  Once people start to open up, they may reflect that they are also worried about their drinking.

Alternatively, a mental health first aider may have concerns about a colleague’s drinking but may not know how to raise this.

After all, what is heavy drinking? How much is too much? What determines if it is a problem or not? And where should they recommend a colleague go for independent support?

In addition to their understanding around mental health issues, your Mental Health First Aiders and Health Champions may benefit from knowing the signs of alcohol misuse, how to broach the subject with their colleague and where to signpost them for support.


We think there are at least 3 reasons why Alcohol Awareness should form part of Mental Health First Aid Training:


  1. Alcohol Awareness Training will increase your Mental Health First Aiders' and Health Champions' confidence to recognise, talk about and support problems that colleagues may be having with alcohol


  1. Alcohol Awareness Training will support Mental Health First Aiders' and Health Champions' ability to intervene on alcohol issues early on, increasing the chance of problems being resolved early


  1. Providing Alcohol Awareness Training for Mental Health First Aiders and Health Champions signals to employees that the organisation understands the relationship between alcohol and mental health – and neither subject is off limits in terms of employee wellbeing and support


We'd love to hear your thoughts. In the meantime, we wish you a very happy, healthy 2018.  

Best wishes,

The Alcohol Health Network Team


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Posted by Don Shenker on 11th January 2018

Category: Workplace, Mental health

Tags: Alcohol Mental Health Workplace

It’s the party season – can’t wait? Or dreading it?

Here are some top tips for surviving (and enjoying!) all those festive dinners / parties / events that can sometimes lead to severe embarrassment, guilt or worse...

Posted by Paula Glassman on 14th December 2017

Category: Workplace, Public Health, Mental health

Tags: alcohol, workplace, healthy workplaces, workplace wellbeing

10 Reasons Why Employers should consider investing in Alcohol Awareness

A growing number of employers are recognising the benefit of raising alcohol awareness in the workplace – not because they suspect employees are drinking on the job, but because they believe it is just as valuable to promote a healthy relationship with alcohol as it is to promote a healthy diet and regular exercise. 

Posted by Paula Glassman on 7th November 2017

Category: Workplace

Tags: alcohol awareness workplace employee wellbeing

Alcohol Awareness Week 2017


It's Alcohol Awareness Week from the 13th-19th November 2017 – have you thought about what you can do to promote alcohol awareness in your workplace?

Why hold an Alcohol Awareness Week in your workplace?

• It’s simple, fun and a bit different – and it always gets people talking!

• Alcohol misuse costs workplaces £7.3Bn every year in the UK

• There’s evidence from NICE that raising awareness of personal drinking helps people to stick to lower drinking levels

1. The Basics – get people thinking

It’s easy to raise awareness – there are many online resources you can signpost to and simply holding an ‘Alcohol Awareness Week’ sends a signal. You can send out e-mails, post links on your intranet or generate your own resources.

2. Hold an event – have some fun

Here’s some ideas for raising awareness at your workplace:

  • Mocktail Bar Shake Off

Get staff to bring in their best Mocktail recipes, ingredients and hold a Shake Off – everyone makes their favourite non-alcoholic drink and someone judges the best. Set up a Mocktail Bar and invite everyone along to take part, sample and vote!

  • Go Dry for a Good Cause

Can staff go dry for the week and run, swim, cycle on one evening of the week – or the weekend – to raise money for a good cause? You can choose a local charity to support, or donate to a trusted alcohol charity.

  • An evening of sport can also bring people together as a reminder that you don’t always have to go the pub after work.

If staff who normally drink have gone dry, how easy was it for them to stay dry for a week? Get them to post their comments (anonymously if preferred) and compile these on an End of Week Report.

  • Drink Tracker Week

An alternative to Going Dry is to simply track your drinking over the week using a Drink Diary – staff may be surprised how much they’ve drunk. Was it more or less than the recommended guidelines. When did they drink the most – why?

  • Hold a stall – invite a professional

Invite Alcohol Health Network to come and run a stall, with lots of awareness materials, a smoothie bike and beer google challenges.

  • Lunch & Learn

Run a Lunch and Learn session on alcohol awareness. Invite Alcohol Health Network in to talk about alcohol and mental health, the unit guidelines, how to talk to your kids about alcohol, or even run a low/no alcohol drinks tasting - whatever would fit best in your workplace.

3. Visit a local alcohol charity

Many of us have a warped view of alcohol charities – do you really know what they do? Alcohol charities would love to open their doors to you and help you meet staff as well as clients who are alcohol dependent.

You’ll discover they are people like you and me – what’s their story? How did they become alcohol dependent? You may be surprised by what you hear.

Alternatively, invite them to come to your workplace and give you a lunchtime talk on their work. Simply phone them up and ask to speak to the manager.

4. The Full Monty – integrated awareness campaigns all year round

In addition to the initiatives above, Alcohol Health Network can support your organisation to develop alcohol awareness campaigns for the whole year.

Alcohol Training for Managers & Health Champions:

We provide training for your managers or Health and Wellbeing champions in how to spot an alcohol problem and where to signpost people for support. 

Alcohol Awareness Events:

Lunch & Learn, Alcohol Health Stalls


Drink Checker online self assessment & Online manager training


Fact Sheets, Scratch Cards, Unit / Calorie counter wheels, Posters

Get in touch to find out more - hello@alcoholhealthnetwork.org.uk


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Posted by Don Shenker on 15th September 2017

Category: Workplace

Tags: Alcohol Awareness Week 2017, Alcohol Health Training, Alcohol Health Network

Are You an Alcohol Aware Employer?

Screenshot 2017-03-05 19.54.25

In times of economic and financial uncertainty for many employees, it’s not surprising that levels of stress and anxiety are rising, and that for some employees, alcohol use will feature as a way to de-stress and cope with emotional and financial difficulties.

Posted by Paula Glassman on 5th March 2017