S80: Featured Symposium: Australian Alcohol Myths: Recent Trends and Innovative Responses.

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By September 17, 2018 No Comments

Authors: Cath Chapman

Year: 2018

Event: 2018 TheMHS Conference


Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: Symposium Chair: Prof Maree Teesson There are several myths around alcohol use, but what does the recent data say? Myth 1: Young people are drinking more than ever before Myth 2: Alcohol is a problem for men but not for women Myth 3: Anxiety protects young people from drinking too much Myth 4: Letting teenagers drink at home protects them from alcohol related harms Australia has some of the highest rates of alcohol use disorders in the world. However, the last decade has seen some compelling shifts in patterns of alcohol use and related harms in Australia. Data from the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey indicates that fewer young people are choosing to drink, and those who do are starting to drink later. However, we are not necessarily seeing the same downward shifts across the whole population, or in all alcohol-related harms. There is some evidence that women are catching up to men in terms of alcohol use and related harms, and rates of risky drinking remain high among men and women in their 40’s, 50’s and. Alongside these trends, the latest data on the mental health of young Australians indicates that rates of anxiety and depression are high and associated with increased risk of alcohol use. This symposium will present recent Australian and International data to challenge commonly held myths around alcohol use and will discuss innovative solutions to address these problems. The first presentation will give a brief overview of the latest Australian data on alcohol, young people and mental health. It will pose a number of key questions: Why is it that young people are drinking less and drinking later, and yet rates of anxiety, depression and self-harm remain high? Are women catching up to men in terms of alcohol use and alcohol related harms? If young people with anxiety are at risk of developing problems with alcohol, what can we do to help? And finally, what role to parents play? Should we be teaching our teenagers to “drink responsibly”? Presentations 2-4 will explore these issues further and present three empirical studies that are attempting to find innovative solutions to these questions. Presentation 2 will look at women and alcohol use and present data from the Australian Why Women Drink Study which aims to better understand patterns of, and reasons for, drinking among women to inform prevention and early intervention programs for females. Presentation 3 will present data from an innovative online program to address alcohol use and anxiety among young adults and Presentation 4 will give an overview of a new online school-based program which aims to prevent adolescent alcohol use and related hams by intervening among both teenagers and their parents. Presentation 1: Population trends in alcohol use and mental health: an update and overview Presentation 2: Alcohol: the gender gap you don’t want to close. Data from the Why Women Drink Study Presentation 3: The Inroads program: An innovative online intervention for young people who drink to cope with anxiety. Presentation 4: Climate Schools Plus (CSP): An interactive online intervention for students and their parents to prevent alcohol and cannabis related harms among adolescents PREMISE (PRevention and Early intervention in Mental Illness and Substance usE) is a newly funded NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence which aims to provide a world-first synergy of the leading prevention and early intervention research and translation programs in substance use and mental disorders across five Australian universities. It brings researchers currently working independently across disorder silos (addiction, depression, suicide, anxiety, psychosis) together to share skills, synergise data, and harness new technologies to develop and trial innovative prevention and early intervention programs for substance use and mental disorders. The work presented in this symposium is being conducted as part of this newly funded Centre.

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