Alcohol is one of the most significant factors related to our good health and wellbeing, linked to short term issues such as hangovers and days missed from work, as well as long term issues including cancers and liver damage. The research we have indicates that LGB & T people drink more – and more often – than society as a whole, placing them at increased risk. A new study of LGB & T drinking found venues on the scene heavily promoted alcohol deals, but health messages around safer drinking rarely speak directly to our communities.
At London Friend we run Antidote, the UK’s only LGBT specific alcohol and drug support service. We’re concerned about the long-term impact of alcohol on our community so have launched Sober Start, a campaign aimed at social drinkers whose drinking may be increasing risk to their health.
Sober Start encourages people to assess their own drinking, with tips for cutting down over time. As an incentive we’re also encouraging people to join us for an alcohol-free January detox, building on those New Year resolutions and burning off any excesses from the festive season as a kick-start to a healthier 2016. Those doing so can join our sponsorship campaign and help us raise funds for the Antidote service.
Sober Start uses a simple screening tool to let people assess where their own drinking is at, and makes suggestions for small but manageable changes to cut back and prevent long-term damage. Such assessments are widely championed and used in national initiatives such as the NHS Health Check. Earlier this year we jointly published an LGBT briefing with Public Health England for healthcare professionals and commissioners to make the interventions more widely available to LGB & T people. You can download it here.
We’ll be Tweeting out encouragement to everyone joining us for a Sober Start this January, and you can follow us on Twitter or on Facebook and use the hashtag #SoberStartLGBT to join the conversation. To fundraise for us with your own sponsored Sober Start, or to make a donation to the campaign, sign up here with Just Giving.
Join us and make your January a corker with you own Sober Start!
Monty Moncrieff is the Chief Executive of London Friend