ISL Video: HSE Alcohol advice for the coronavirus outbreak

27th April 2020

The disruption we are all facing in our lives at the moment can be difficult to cope with and can leave us feeling powerless, lonely, stressed and bored.

Our emotions and moods are up and down more than normal.

Dealing with all of this and being at home all the time, means many of us are drinking more than usual.

Here are some reasons you might like to cut back on your alcohol intake right now:

  • We may reach for alcohol in times of stress or worry, but alcohol has a negative impact on mental health and can make stressful times feel even worse.
  • When we drink too much, we can be less aware or diligent about following the physical distancing and hygiene advice which protects us from coronavirus.
  • Alcohol negatively affects the quality of our sleep, making it even harder to cope in stressful times.
  • Alcohol can make our immune system less effective, impacting it’s ability to fight off viruses.
  • Taking a break or cutting down on alcohol has many health benefits.
  • Problem drinking can cause mental health symptoms such as anxiety, depression, concentration problems, and personality changes and have negative effects on those we live with.

So set yourself a goal of drinking less today. Here are some tips to help you get there:

  1. Don’t stockpile. This advice applies to alcohol as well as food. We’re more likely to reach for a drink more often if it’s available to us.
  2. Work out ways to relax and treat yourself that don’t involve alcohol like reading, family board games or exercise.
  3. Develop and maintain a familiar routine that involves regular sleep, mealtimes and exercise.
  4. If you drink, stick to the low risk weekly drinking guidelines here.
  5. Set rules around your drinking that will help such as not drinking before 10pm, not drinking on weekdays or not drinking in front of children.

If you need it, help is available

  1. If you find that you cannot stop drinking, contact the HSE Helpline (through Irish Remote Interpreting Service IRIS) for support on 1800 459 459 from Monday to Friday  between 9:30am and 5:30pm or email
  2. If violence arises in your home contact Women’s Aid 1800 341 900 (For Deaf women – text 087 959 7980 – more details from Women’s Aid)
  3. For HSE information on minding your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak visit our website
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