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Mental health in Ireland ‘critically low’ as half of adults turn to alcohol to cope

Just 27% of the population report having a high mental wellbeing.

Stock photo© PA

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

Many Irish people are struggling with their mental health and turning to alcohol to cope, a new survey has revealed.

The results show a “critically low” number of people in Ireland who say they have a high mental wellbeing.

Just 27% of the population report a high wellbeing, a shocking contrast to pre-pandemic levels of 63% of people.

Over half of people reported using alcohol to cope in the Drinkaware Annual Barometer.

The results show how many Irish adults are binge drinking, something the HSE has warned interferes with chemicals in the brain and can negatively impact mental health.

Binge drinking counts as having more than six standard drinks in one sitting, usually in a short space of time.

Having three pints of cider, six bottles of lager or four glasses of prosecco all count as binging.

It means the drinker is consuming more alcohol than the liver can process at once.

The survey results show that 1 in 4 adults binge when they drink alcohol, with only 3% knowing the HSE guidelines around alcohol.

Mental health is lowest among 25 to 34 year olds and almost half reported low wellbeing this year.

“With the cost-of-living crisis, the ongoing concerns surrounding Covid-19 and the winter months ahead, it’s no surprise that people are finding it difficult to maintain high levels of mental wellbeing,” said Jennifer Flynn, the Director of Communications for Drinkaware.

“With over half of Irish adults drinking alcohol to cope, we need to ensure that the public are aware of the impact alcohol can have on our mental wellbeing, and that they are armed with the information and support to protect their mental health.”

The survey paints a "stark” picture of mental health and alcohol use in the country.

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