Under pressure: Drug and alcohol use

We’re a nation of drinkers, whether it’s on social occasions or as part of the after-work culture.

The lockdown has also led to an increase in alcohol consumption at home as well as reports of mental health issues.

Substance use has also been part of the coping mechanisms for some people. Prescription drugs, such as painkillers, or illegal substances can easily lead to a dependency issue that ends up having long-term impacts on physical and mental health.

If you work for a major contractor, it also brings added risk to your job, as mental health charity Lighthouse Club knows only too well.

Chief executive officer Bill Hill explains: “A lot of big firms have compulsory testing and if you fail, you are marched off site immediately. You won’t be allowed to work on any other sites run by that company or any that have a banned list.”

He adds: “For someone who is self-medicating to deal with a problem, that means they are then spiralling into a very dark place with debt issues and more.”

The advice from Lighthouse Club and those involved in substance abuse treatment is to take small steps to tackle the issues that cause the triggers leading to self-medicating.

Acknowledging that what was the odd pint, or a weekend of using illegal substances as a release, has become a problem is the start of a way out.

Help is at hand through your GP, support groups and online resources including the Lighthouse Club’s app which you can download onto your phone.

Bill Hill says: “The app helps you learn about the problem you’ve got and how it’s affecting you. If that doesn’t work, we have a list of 3,500 organisations that can help. No-one should be alone in a crisis.”

GETTING HELP

Finding new coping mechanisms is key to beating substance issues.

Think small:

Making small adjustments every day can make a big difference to wellbeing. Getting a good night’s sleep, a healthy meal, spending less time on social media and talking to a friend can break a low mood.

Get out more:

Physical activity is a major contributing factor to our physical health and it also helps our emotional development and wellbeing. Our lifestyle choices play a huge part in avoiding preventable diseases as well as balancing mind, body and spirit.

Tell someone:

Talking to a friend helps you feel less isolated and lessens the burden.

Resources to help

Find more on dealing with mental health issues at www.lighthouseclub.org

Construction Industry Helpline 24/7 telephone number 0345 605 1956

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