Feb Fast, Dry July, Sober October. It seems these ‘special days’ in the calendar have little impact on some sectors of the population.
A VicHealth Indicators Study from 2015 found that twice as many men than women drink at levels that put them at risk of short-term harm each month.
More recently, research conducted by Monash University for VicHealth sampled 101 men from different backgrounds, with alcohol called out as the central element in social interactions. (VIEW FULL REPORT)
Risky drinking, says the National Health and Medical Research Council, is defined as the consumption of more than two standard drinks per day (for lifetime risk of disease) and more than four standard drinks on a single occasion (for risk of injury).
But the Monash participants suggested that risk for them started at 10, 15, 20, or 30 standard drinks.
“Metropolitan-based hospitality workers reported themselves to have the highest proportion of risky drinkers, and indicated risky drinking activity on a more regular basis,” they reported.
VicHealth's Risky Drinking Framework.
As part of its on-going commitment to change alcohol culture and support preventative initiatives, VicHealth is providing “men’s risky drinking” grants across Victoria for up to $150,000 over a two-year period.
The funding falls under the umbrella of VicHealth’s Alcohol Culture Change Initiative, “which aims to change cultures of risky drinking within social worlds in Victoria.”
Successful applicants will be expected to embrace the principles of its Alcohol Cultures Framework – a tool developed for those wanting to change risky drinking cultures to reduce harm from alcohol.
The framework recognises that people drink for different reasons and that social groups and settings have a huge influence on drinking patterns, be they with relatives, sporting groups, or business colleagues.
VicHealth's Risky Drinking Framework.
Says VicHealth: It’s about changing the practices within groups to minimise harm from alcohol. To do this, we need to understand three separate but overlapping elements:
- the settings in which a group drinks (for example at a sports game, at a birthday party, or in a pub)
- the social know-how or skills the group shares in drinking together (for example, buying rounds or shouting drinks or the way they manage drunkenness)
- and the shared meanings of drinking among the group (Is risky drinking encouraged by members of the group? Is someone made fun of if they choose not to drink?)
Rather than targeting individuals, the framework shifts the focus to shared activities practiced by a social group.
Men need other options to socialise beyond drinking
Parliamentary Secretary for Health Anthony Carbines said it was important men felt like they had other options to socialise beyond drinking alcohol.
“It’s concerning that some Victorian men feel like the only way they can connect with their friends or express their masculinity is through drinking,” Mr Carbines said.
“This new funding will help to create new interventions that question this outdated view of what it means to be a man in our society, and support men to change the way they think about alcohol.”
VicHealth Executive Manager of Programs Kirstan Corben said the research showed we need to challenge stereotypes and public health initiatives needed to change tactics when it comes to supporting men to drink less.
“Men have told us they think the Australian male drinking culture is harmful but they don’t know how to change it – they feel stuck in the same drinking culture perpetuated by alcohol industry advertising and learned from their fathers and grandfathers,” Ms Corben said.
“This funding is about redefining masculine drinking and creating options for men where they can connect with their mates and express themselves without having to drink 20 beers.”
Expressions of interest for a Men’s Risky Drinking Grant need to be with VicHealth by 8 April, 2019.
An information session will be held on March 20, 10-11am. Register to attend.
Any organisation can apply and organisations can work together to develop a men’s risky drinking preventative program.
TAKE ACTION FOR MEN'S HEALTH
VicHealth Men’s Risky Drinking Grant Guidelines (PDF)
Men and alcohol: the facts
- The 2015 VicHealth Indicators Survey found that twice as many men than women drink at levels that put them at risk of short-term harm each month.
- This data was confirmed by the National Drug Strategy Household Survey which found the one in five males consume risky quantities of alcohol at least weekly compared to one in 14 women.
Furthermore VicHealth reports:
- Men account for most of the alcohol-related harm burden
- Almost two-thirds of alcohol-related ambulance attendances are for male patients.
- Hospital admission rates are almost three times higher among males aged 20–29 years compared to the general population.
- Men are more likely than women to be admitted to hospital for alcohol use disorder and mortality rates with a primary cause of alcoholic liver cirrhosis is more common in men than women.
- There is a disproportionate involvement of men in acute forms of alcohol-related criminal offences including violence but also family violence, sexual assault, traffic accidents, drink driving and public disorder.
For questions regarding the funding round, Men’s Risky Drinking Grants Funding Guidelines or VicHealth’s General Funding Information for All Applicants, please email [email protected].