A new campaign promoting the free ‘Lower My Drinking’ app and highlighting the long-term impact heavy drinking can have on an individual’s health has been launched this month to Cheshire and Merseyside residents.

The app, designed by clinical psychologists and behavioural scientists, gives advice, and uses scientifically proven tools to reduce drinking to the recommended limit of 14 units a week or less. This is of particular importance in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic which has seen a rise in harmful drinking and its consequences on people, communities, and services.

Three new videos have been developed by the Collaborative to support the campaign featuring local medical professionals linking alcohol to cancers, depression and liver disease together with posts that can be shared on social media channels.

New posters and business cards have also been developed and sent to community pharmacies across Cheshire and Merseyside.

The first of the three new videos highlights that alcohol consumption can lead to depressive symptoms within five short years

In the video, Andrew O’Sullivan, Alcohol Specialist Nurse, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, states:

“Alcohol is a proven depressant. Many opt to drink more in an attempt to improve their mood, however, drinking alcohol is linked to depression, anxiety and more. Depression and alcohol use can create a vicious cycle and it is important to break this cycle to protect your mental health.”

The second video highlights that drinking too much can increase a person’s risk of various cancers such as breast, bowel, mouth, throat and liver.

In the video, Rachel Brooker, Clinical Oncology Consultant, The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, states:

“Alcohol is a carcinogen, meaning it is known to cause cancer. Alcohol damages cells and tissues in the body. It can also disrupt hormone levels that can lead to cell changes. It’s essential to control alcohol consumption in order to protect your body and improve your health.”

The third video highlights that drinking too much can lead to liver disease and death.

In the video, Dr Paul Richardson, Honorary Associate Clinical Professor of Hepatology, Clinical Director, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, states:

“Your liver is one of the most important organs in the body. It has numerous crucial functions including making blood clotting proteins, detoxifying the blood and helping the body fight infection.

“Alcohol may damage the liver cells and may cause a reaction leading to scarring of the liver and over time with excessive alcohol consumption, that scar tissue may accumulate and get worse until you reach a condition called cirrhosis or permanent liver damage, which may impact on both your quality of life and also your quantity of life.”

Margaret Jones, Lead Director of Public Health for Alcohol Harm, said:

“We are working with partners across the NHS, local authorities and the third sector to promote this campaign and reach as many people as possible.

“We know that there were almost one million alcohol-related hospital admissions reported in 2019-2020 across England and 27% of adults in the North West drink more than the recommended limit.

“By working together, we can improve awareness and understanding of the Lower My Drinking app and the help available. We can ensure that people have access to the app and they know it is free. Together, we can reduce the rise in harmful drinking across Cheshire and Merseyside.”

If you would like to support the Lower My Drinking campaign in your organisation visit https://trello.com/b/5dWEBKgf/lower-my-drinking for more details on the app and to download the videos, social media posts, posters and business cards.