A SCOTTISH start up has sacrificed its salaries to ensure free services to support NHS staff and other frontline workers.
One Year No Beer made the decision after reports confirmed that alcohol sales in the UK have increased by 22% in March despite the lockdown.
The company will offer its 28-day intervention programme free for all support staff, all key workers, all unemployed and anyone else who needs additional help during these challenging times.
The digital network, which has been designed to transform behaviour and support mental health, will also include full access to the Challenge Group community, offering daily support as well as online meetings.
The brand’s plea follows a recent statement from a World Health Organisation (WHO) expert who warned that alcohol is an “unhelpful coping strategy” for the possible stress and isolation of coronavirus lockdown.
Ruari Fairbairns, founder and CEO of One Year No Beer said: “We are currently experiencing the worst global pandemic of our lifetime, which has caused two-thirds, if not more, of adults across the UK to experience anxiety.
“The major problem here is that people are using alcohol as a coping mechanism and this is probably the worst thing that they could do because it is a depressant. We want to help people to look after their mental health and live a better life.”
Recent research has also revealed that there has been a huge rise in mental health calls, as well as GP’s highlighting an increase in domestic violence and according to step counters, steps are down 50-100% in Europe, suggesting that as a result of COVID-19, people are exercising less and drinking more.
Professor Kevin Moore, one of London’s leading and most reputable liver specialists, added: “There is so much positive research and work going on right now in the fight against COVID-19, but it’s vital that people don’t overlook the hugely negative impact that alcohol could have during these challenging times.
“It is well known that excessive alcohol consumption can lead to liver disease and various cancers. What is less well known is that people who drink excess alcohol are more likely to develop pneumonia, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
“That makes it almost certain that if you drink too much alcohol, you are more likely to develop COVID-19 and complications. Further since, alcohol impairs your immune system, if you develop COVID-19 infection, the chronic use of alcohol will impair your ability to recover from infection.”