This week, marks Children of Alcoholics (COA) awareness week. COA is a campaign set up by Nacoa UK, to raise awareness for children affected by parental alcohol problems. The charity is available all year round to support those in need.

With lockdown being tough for some people, unfortunately the alcohol abuse rate has risen. According to the British Liver Trust there has been a 500% rise in calls to its helpline since lockdown began in March 2020. 

Addiction is now classed as a national health pandemic and the impact it is having on children and young adults is staggering according to Nacoa UK. Whilst some of those affected can find a supportive adult who can help to protect them from the worst, others may be unaware of the help available to them or have someone else they can turn to.

How can relatives or friends of the family help?

Many children will be aware of the problem happening at home and will often feel responsible and guilty for their parent’s actions. Understanding more about alcoholism can help you be in the best position to support someone affected by their parents drinking.  

  • Be someone that people can talk to in confidence. By simply being available and listening you can help those in need of your support.
  • Encourage the child to not blame themselves and make sure they understand they are by no means at fault.
  • Listen non-judgmentally.
  • Help them to understand more about alcoholism.
  • Provide them with details to the Nacoa charity website and helpline
  • Remind the child that they can contact Nacoa or ChildLine (0800 1111) for help at any time.

If you are worried about a child’s safety or wellbeing, you can also contact Nacoa, phone the NSPCC (0808 800 5000) or your local duty social worker in Children’s Social Care. Contact details can be found here.

How can we help ourselves?

Living with alcoholism can be stressful not just on the individual but also on your loved ones. Sharing your feelings and experiences with a trusted person can help you feel less alone. It is important to look after yourself.

  • For information, advice or support visit: Nacoa.org.uk; call the Nacoa helpline 0800 358 3456 or email helpline@nacoa.org.uk.
  • Talk to someone you trust or others in similar situations.

Other helplines

Sometimes alcoholism impacts relationships to such an extent that they become untenable. If you are impacted by this and wish to consider your options or have a confidential chat please get in touch with our family partner, Fran Hipperson, on enquiries@bpcollins.co.uk or 01753 889995.


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Sue Andrews
Practice Group Leader

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