Are you joining in Dry January?

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People across St Helens are being challenged to try going dry this month as part of a national campaign tackling alcohol misuse.

Alcohol Concern, in conjunction with St Helens Council’s Public Health team, are rallying local support for Dry January – which aims to see as many people as possible reducing their alcohol intake or avoid alcohol altogether throughout the month of January.

St Helens Council’s Director of Public Health Liz Gaulton said: “People may have many different reasons for staying off the booze – or even just cutting down.

“In St Helens we face real challenges in relation to alcohol harm for both men and women - so we want people to start thinking about their own drinking habits and how they affect the lives of those around them.

“We’re urging everyone to just give Dry January a try and to see for themselves what benefits this brings.

“By taking on the challenge many will find they can lose a few pounds, have better quality sleep, save money and have time and energy to spare!”

The campaign also aims to make people aware of more serious health concerns. St Helens has significantly high alcohol specific hospital admissions when compared to other local authorities and it’s not only the men who are affected.

Alcohol misuse is an important issue for women’s health too.

This is the fourth year of the campaign and organisers hope to get people thinking about their drinking behaviour.

Alcohol concern has recently undertaken research looking at peoples drinking habits and the times at which they reach for a drink.

Tom Smith, director of Campaigns at Alcohol Concern, said: “All over Britain people will relax with a drink after a stressful day, or even at lunch, without realising the harm it can do to their health.

“Having a month off from booze helps people realise wine o’clock is often more of a habit than a pleasure.”

You can sign up to the Dry January campaign by going to www.dryjanuary.org.uk. And you will receive lots of tips and support.

However very heavy drinkers who want to quit are advised to speak to their GP first, as suddenly stopping drinking can be dangerous without professional help.

For free, confidential advice and non-judgemental support about your drinking, call Addaction on 01744 610 555.

If you’re aged under 19 and would like advice and support about your drinking, call the Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Team on 01744 675605.

If you are affected by someone else’s drinking and call Footsteps on 01744 808212