The rise and risk of virtual drinking

As Australia moves into our ‘new normal’, APM’s Health & Wellbeing team will provide regular insights and advice to help you address some of the most pertinent issues arising.

Our aim is to help you and your organisation respond to and evolve with the situation.

Source: FARE.

What does this mean?

New data shows our relationship with alcohol has grown deeper and sense of reliance even escalated, with many of us turning to the bottle amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scroll through your social media newsfeed and it probably won’t take long to find friends, influencers and other individuals having a drink 'to relieve' stress, anxiety or worry triggered by a day in isolation and other impacts of social distancing.

In 2015, a study by the Australian Psychological Society showed 40% of Australians turn to alcohol in times of stress.

Recent figures from the Australian Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) show a dramatic change in our drinking habits in just a few weeks, in response to unprecedented stressors associated with the COVID-19 outbreak. And with this change comes a greater concern for the health and wellbeing of our team members, friends and family.

How should leaders respond?

  1. Leaders can encourage healthier behaviours. Be aware of how you talk about drinking and your own alcohol consumption. You can also limit alcohol-themed events such as virtual drinks. Instead, promote greater self-care – exercise, healthy eating, time doing activities you enjoy.
  2. Acknowledge the stress your team is under right now, and do point them regularly to the tools and resources on offer. Your EAP provider is a good source of support, and see the links for additional resources for staff.

Where to go for help and information