Male identity and alcohol under the spotlight in new report
Harm related to alcohol remains a significant issue for men, for whom drinking is closely connected to their identity, according to a new report.
The study launched by Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) and the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) found both the mental and physical impact of alcohol-related harm are an issue, with men less likely to seek help for mental health problems.
The report also draws attention to the potential impact of Covid-19 on health behaviours and argues cuts to services in the wake of the pandemic may have a negative impact on alcohol-related harm.
It makes a number of recommendations for policy, including calls to strengthen restrictions on alcohol availability and to enforce bans on alcohol advertising, sponsorship and promotion.
Lindsay Paterson, interim director of SHAAP, said: “In Scotland, the alcohol-specific death rate for men was 2.2 times higher than women in 2018 and rates of alcohol-related stays in hospital were 2.5 times higher.
“These figures underscore the importance of understanding how alcohol use impacts on men’s mental and physical health in particular ways if we are to tackle and reduce alcohol-related harms.
“It is difficult at the moment to know what the long-term impacts of Covid-19 will be on people’s drinking behaviour and how these may intersect with issues of gender and/or marginalisation when it comes to people accessing alcohol treatment and recovery services.
“In all eventualities, this report highlights how we must not lose ground in the gains we’ve made in regulating alcohol in Scotland, as well as the crucial importance of investing in alcohol treatment and recovery services, in addition to improving youth services and opportunities for skills and learning development.”
The Men and Alcohol report, launched today (WED), also highlights the importance of investing in alcohol treatment and recovery services, and calls for all services to be joined-up.Dr Katherine Severi, Chief Executive of IAS, said: “IAS is excited to be launching the Men and Alcohol: Key Issues report alongside SHAAP today.
"This report sheds important light on the particular impact that alcohol consumption can have on men’s mental and physical health, as well as how drinking alcohol affects and relates to male identity in the UK. These are important areas to understand if we are to reduce alcohol-related harm.
“In England, approximately twice as many men die of alcohol-specific causes than women, and men are overrepresented in hospital admissions for alcohol related issues.
"Alcohol can also exacerbate mental health problems, including anxiety and depression, and men are less likely than women to seek help for mental health problems.
"This important report shows just how important it is to reduce alcohol-related harm in order to benefit people’s overall health and wellbeing.
“Now, more than ever, there is an urgent need to implement evidence-based and ambitious policy solutions that can tackle alcohol-related harm in the UK. “The Men and Alcohol: Key Issues report lays out clear recommendations for how to do this, drawing on specific lessons about the intersections between alcohol use, gender and identity, and what these can teach us for policy and practice”.
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