Barnsley Council is encouraging people to download Alcohol Change UK's free app, Try Dry, and take on Dry January with support to double their chance of an alcohol-free month.
One in five (20 per cent) people who drink alcohol are planning to take on Dry January this year, or one in eight (12.4 per cent) of all UK adults.
New research from Alcohol Change UK, the charity behind Dry January, suggests that more people than ever are planning a Dry January to reset their relationship with alcohol after a year when many have found themselves drinking more heavily.
Research has consistently shown that many people are drinking more heavily since the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions began earlier this year. This new research finds that close to one in three (29 per cent) people who drink alcohol say that they have drunk more in 2020 than in 2019. One in five (22 per cent) have felt concerned about the amount they have been drinking since COVID-19 restrictions began in March this year and drinking 'to try and cope' (23 per cent).
A quarter (27 per cent) of people who drink alcohol would like to cut down in 2021. Evidence shows that Dry January is an effective and lasting way to cut down. Research by the University of Sussex published in 2020 found that 70% of those taking on a Dry January are still drinking less six months later - but interestingly this only applied to those who did the campaign with support from Alcohol Change UK, via their free Try Dry app or coaching emails.
Barnsley Council is encouraging residents to sign up for Dry January via the free app, Try Dry, and get benefits like more energy, saving money and losing weight. It can also help you to drink more healthily year-round. People who sign up are twice as likely to manage the whole month without drinking compared to those who try to do it alone.
Councillor Jim Andrews, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health, said: "We're proud to support Dry January for 2021 as it continues to go from strength-to-strength, year-on-year.
"Research has shown that levels of drinking have increased in 2020 due to the well-documented stresses caused by the pandemic.
"The turn of the year is a great time to make positive changes, and that includes reducing alcohol consumption. The health benefits are fantastic, and, now more than ever, it's really important that we're looking after ourselves.
"If people do feel like they have a problem with alcohol, or are becoming alcohol dependent, help is available from Barnsley Recovery Steps, our commissioned support service."
Visit humankindcharity.org.uk/service/barnsley-recovery-steps for more information about the help on offer.
Public Health England has endorsed Dry January.