MORE THAN ONE IN FOUR Finns have been worried about the alcohol use of a family member or another loved one in the past 12 months, indicates a survey commissioned by the Finnish Association for Substance Abuse Prevention (EHYT).
The respondents were most often worried about the alcohol use of their friend, co-worker or fellow student (37%), a family member living in another household (25%), and their parent or grandparent (18%).
Fewer than one-tenth (8%) of the 1,004 respondents estimated that their loved ones are consuming more alcohol and 16 per cent that their loved ones are consuming less alcohol than before the coronavirus pandemic.
While male respondents were more likely to be alarmed by the drinking of a friend, co-worker or fellow student, female respondents were more likely worried about the drinking of a loved one living in another household.
“We at the counselling helpline have heard concerns especially about the substance abuse of [the caller’s] spouse, parent or child. There have also been some calls from people concerned about the substance abuse of a friend or neighbour, for example,” commented Minttu Tavia, the director of substance abuse counselling at EHYT.
The helpline registered a year-on-year increase of 30 per cent in the number of answered calls and one of 40 per cent in the number of call attempts in 2020.
EHYT emphasised that anyone concerned about the drinking of a loved one should bring up the topic, no matter how difficult it felt, and seek help sooner rather than later.
“Be present, listen and show interest. The matter should be discussed directly, but friendly. At the same time, it is good to show support and point out that you are bringing up the matter because the loved one means a lot to you and their well-being is a cause of concern for you,” advised Tavia.
The survey was conducted by phone between 11 and 25 January by Kantar TNS.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT