This week – 19th to 25th November 2018 – is Alcohol Awareness Week in the UK. Co-ordinated by the charity Alcohol Concern, it is a week dedicated to encouraging people to think about their drinking and their relationship with alcohol. The theme this year is “change”. Every year in the UK thousands of lives are lost and hundreds of thousands damaged as a result of alcohol misuse. According to the NHS, last year in England there were 337,000 estimated hospital admissions where the main reason for admission was attributable to alcohol. In Scotland, there were 36,235 alcohol-related hospital admissions in 2016/2017. This was an increase from the previous year and 11,777 were first time admissions, or admissions for the first time in the last decade.
At Mentor UK we believe a change in our attitudes towards alcohol misuse is possible and we believe that this has already started among young people. Through prevention, education and awareness-raising that centres children’s voices and needs, young people can develop healthy attitudes towards alcohol and can take a future free from its harms into their own hands. Our programming, research and policy work is geared towards this end.
With this in mind, Mentor UK decided to hit the streets for Alcohol Awareness Week to find out firstly, what people knew about alcohol and its affects, secondly whether people could remember (or had had) any alcohol education at school and thirdly, what people consider young people’s needs and strengths to be when it comes to developing healthy attitudes towards alcohol. To kick off the week we are releasing our first video where we were lucky enough to have frank and open conversations with the public about their knowledge on health guidelines and also, what their experiences of alcohol consumption has been.
Follow us throughout the week (On twitter: @Mentortweets @MentorScotland; On facebook: @MentorUK) as we release more videos with interesting conversations about alcohol awareness and education, and how we can improve both to give a better chance for young people to make healthier choices.