Alcohol Advisory Service gears up for people needing help

GUERNSEY Alcohol Advisory Service is gearing up for a spike in the number of people needing help due to the lockdown.

The Guernsey Alcohol Advisory Service is concerned that in the lockdown people might look to drink alcohol earlier. (27890969)
The Guernsey Alcohol Advisory Service is concerned that in the lockdown people might look to drink alcohol earlier. (27890969)

The service has not seen a rise in enquiries yet, but director Dave Newman said they were preparing for an increase.

‘The more we can put in place, the better it is for when that spike comes,’ he said.

‘If you have nothing to do, then you might drink earlier on. You are isolated from your friends and acquaintances.’

Mr Newman said they had a number of resources available to them to help support people. Normally the service would provide one-to-one meetings and then put together a bespoke plan. But with the current lockdown, while the staff are considered essential health workers, they do not want to put anyone needing help at risk.

Instead, the information is being digitised, so it can be sent out to people if they need it.

Mr Newman recently returned from America and is in self-isolation.

He said he was lucky that he lived in a four-bed house, but said even then there was strains within the family. With some people living in less space, they are likely to be under more strain and might look at unhealthy ways to cope.

‘People are working from home, some with young children and it’s inevitably a stressful time,’ Mr Newman said.

‘I’m expecting a spike in direct correlation between alcohol and the stress and anxiety.’

But Mr Newman is not sitting idle while in quarantine.

‘I’m working from home, as this is the ideal opportunity to get everything in place,’ he said.

‘And I’m sure it will be required. We are expecting problems further down the line and we will have the tools.’

People already in touch with the service are being supported by email, phone calls and Skype.

‘We are offering a service and things are changing so quickly,’ Mr Newman said.

‘And the service is responding accordingly.’

He added that the service was in touch with two GPs, so they were ready to provide crisis interventions. And Mr Newman said there would be crises in the future.

The service does have an eight-bed alcohol mental health unit, which currently has three residents.

Mr Newman said the unit was in lockdown and no new residents were going into the unit. He added that there were precautions in place and the residents were self isolating in their bedsits.

n To get in touch with the service people should start by emailing gaas@gaas.org.gg.

There is also an office number - 723255. Mr Newman’s mobile can be reached on 07781 166 603 in an emergency.

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