Alcohol-related harm ‘remains significant issue for men’

Study highlights how drinking is closely connected to male identity.

Alcohol-related harm ‘remains significant issue for men’ Pixabay
Study: Importance of investing in treatment and recovery services highlighted.

Alcohol-related harm, both physical and mental, remains a significant issue for men in Scotland.

That’s according to a study, which highlights how drinking is closely connected to their identity.

The report by Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) and the Institute of Alcohol Studies said part of the problem is men are less likely to seek help for mental health problems.

It also drew attention to the potential impact of the coronavirus crisis on health behaviours, arguing cuts to services in the wake of the pandemic could cause further problems in the area of alcohol-related harm.

The Men and Alcohol report, launched on Wednesday, makes a number of recommendations for policy, including calls to strengthen restrictions on alcohol availability and to enforce bans on alcohol advertising, sponsorship and promotion.

It also highlights the importance of investing in alcohol treatment and recovery services and calls for all services to be joined-up.

Lindsay Paterson, interim director of SHAAP, said: “In Scotland, the alcohol-specific death rate for men was 2.2 times higher than women in 2018, and rates of alcohol-related stays in hospital were 2.5 times higher.

“These figures underscore the importance of understanding how alcohol use impacts on men’s mental and physical health in particular ways, if we are to tackle and reduce alcohol-related harms.

“It is difficult at the moment to know what the long-term impacts of Covid-19 will be on people’s drinking behaviour, and how these may intersect with issues of gender and/or marginalisation when it comes to people accessing alcohol treatment and recovery services.

“In all eventualities, this report highlights how we must not lose ground in the gains we’ve made in regulating alcohol in Scotland, as well as the crucial importance of investing in alcohol treatment and recovery services, in addition to improving youth services and opportunities for skills and learning development.”