WHO: Alcohol Use NOT a COVID-19 Coping Tool

The World Health Organization (WHO) while discussing coping mechanisms during the COVID-19 pandemic, has asked people to not use alcohol and other harmful substances to cope with the crisis. Instead they suggest activities which are promoting mental and physical health to support ourselves and loved ones during this time.

In his statement, Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, stressed the importance of supporting others and staying physically and mentally healthy during this time. He called on all people to support others, by calling, video chatting and by being sensitive to our’s as well as others’ mental health.

WHO Europe calls all people to address the public mental health challenges by:

  • distributing timely, understandable and reliable information from the youngest to the oldest members of our society;
  • providing psychological support to front-line workers and bereaved families;
  • continuing care and treatment of people with cognitive, mental and psychosocial disabilities; and
  • protecting human rights, especially of those whose rights are often overlooked or violated.

WHO and its partners have prepared a set of COVID-specific materials to inform and guide countries and the public in relation to these levels of mental health and psychosocial support, including briefings and accompanying infographics on social stigma as well as needs for the general population, health workers, those in long-term care and others. These materials are now being translated and distributed in many countries of the Region.

Dr. Kluge asked everyone to practice simple relaxation and share problems with others to find solutions collectively.

The issue facing each and every one of us is how we manage and react to stressful situations unfolding so rapidly in our lives and communities. Here we can draw on the remarkable powers of strength, resilience and cooperation that we as humans fortunately possess,” said the statement by Dr. Kluge, as per WHO.

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Support to stay sober

Speaking at the WHO press conference Dr Aiysha Malik from the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse explained that high stress can lead to substance abuse, which is even more concerning considering the links between alcohol and violence.

Our message is quite clear, substance use and other addictions such as gambling and gaming can be harmful to physical and mental health and for those people without addictions using substances will not help to manage the stress of self isolation and can make things worse,” said Dr. Malik, as per Irish News.

Dr. Malik added that people with substance use disorders or addiction face a higher risk of relapse and negative outcomes during crises, stressing the importance of having services readily available affected people can access.

List of resources to support sobriety

Virtual Tools, Real Help: Staying Sober During Pandemic

Sources:

Irish News: “Alcohol will not help with managing stress of self isolation, World Health Organization warns

WHO Europe: “Statement – Physical and mental health key to resilience during COVID-19 pandemic