With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many people were kept away from loved ones due to physical distancing measures. During this time concerns have risen among Finns about the alcohol and other substance use of their loved ones.
As per the survey conducted by EYHT among 1004 Finnish respondents, in the the past 12 months,
- Over one in four people were worried about the alcohol use of a family member or another loved one,
- 37% were worried about the alcohol use of their friend, co-worker or fellow student, 25% about a family member living in another household and 18% about their parent or grandparent, and
- 8% estimated that their loved ones were consuming more alcohol while 16% estimated their loved one were consuming less alcohol during the pandemic.
The EYHT counselling helpline has registered a year-on-year increase of 30% in the number of calls answered and a 40% rise in attempted calls in 2020.
EYHT urges all Finns to have a conversation with their loved one if they think their loved one might be having a problem with alcohol or another substance.
Be present, listen and show interest. The matter should be discussed directly, but friendly,” said Minttu Tavia, the director of substance abuse counseling at EHYT, as per Helsinki Times.
At the same time, it is good to show support and point out that you are bringing up the matter because the loved one means a lot to you and their well-being is a cause of concern for you.”Minttu Tavia, director, substance abuse counselling, EHYT
Alcohol sales data show a positive health trend of decreasing alcohol use in Finland. As Movendi International previously reported, data published by THL, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, show that alcohol consumption fell by 5.2% in Finland in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This decreasing trend was noted in 2019 as well, with an almost 4% reduction in that year.
Since the comprehensive reform of the Alcohol Act in 2018, and in 2015 Finnish support for alcohol policies has been growing. Possibly because people experience the benefits of the improved alcohol policies over the years. According to a THL survey, in 2018 alcohol policies were supported by 49%, increasing to 54% in 2019 and then to 57% in 2020. More than half of Finns now consider the existing solutions in the Finnish model to be appropriate.