MORE than half of Irish men use alcohol as a mental health "coping mechanism", according to new Drinkaware figures.
The Drinkaware Index 2019 report, published today, found that 56% of men in Ireland consume booze to forget about problems, cheer them up when stressed or help when feeling anxious or depressed.
That's compared to 46% of Irish women who use alcohol to cope with problems and stress.
The report also shows that Irish male drinkers binge almost twice a month or 22 times a year on average, compared to women who do so around 10 times a year.
Some 29% of men believe their drinking may cause future health problems, considerably higher than the figure for women – at 19%.
Worryingly, more than half of young people who consume alcohol binge drink every week – compared to less than 20% of the overall drinking population.
Binge drinking is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as six or more standard drinks in one session.
Overall, 44% of Irish adults drink alcohol on a weekly basis while just 2% of the population are aware of low-risk alcohol guidelines.
'Change the Trend' campaign
On the back of the report, Drinkaware are calling for young men in Ireland to make more informed choices about alcohol as part of their new 'Change the Trend' campaign launched this week to coincide with Men's Health Week 2019.
Speaking about the campaign, Drinkaware CEO Sheena Horgan said: "The Drinkaware Index research makes one thing clear – young people in Ireland who drink, and particularly our young men, are consistently drinking to a hazardous and potentially harmful level, which is increasing risks to long-term health and wellbeing.
"The report revealed stark contrasts between this critical cohort of men and those aged under 34, who exhibit consistently hazardous and potentially harmful drinking habits when compared with both women and the overall drinking population.
"Despite this, our research shows that the same young men who are drinking excessively are also open to changing their behaviour. They know their drinking habits may cause future harm but they show a willingness to make positive changes.
"Crucially, we feel the time for shifting the dial is now. We can clearly see that the appetite for more mindful drinking in Ireland is growing. Non-alcoholic drinks and pubs are becoming a new norm, reflecting an evolving Ireland and a sober, curious public. One in five Irish adult men and almost 37% of under-34s abstain from alcohol entirely. Over one-third of all visitors to drinkaware.ie are men, an increase from 2018.
"Through our new campaign and especially during Men’s Health Week, Drinkaware is responding to this appetite for lasting change regarding alcohol and encouraging men to take steps towards more mindful drinking for a healthier future."
To view the full Drinkaware Index 2019 report click here