Risky behaviours increase the chance of person acquiring a particular condition, sustaining an injury or becoming ill. They include eating too much and being inactive, smoking and risky sexual behaviour. They also include alcohol and drug misuse. Having a parent or carer who misuses drugs and alcohol is a contributing factor to experiencing adversity in childhood. A correlation between adverse childhood experiences and socio-economic status has been recognised, but health-harming behaviours are not limited to poorer families or communities; a notable example of this is the misuse of alcohol, including binge drinking. Research suggests that having adverse childhood experience causes functional and structural changes in children’s developing brains which can seriously affect their physical and mental health during their whole life course. Maternal alcohol consumption or drug use during pregnancy also interferes with healthy cognitive and physical development in unborn babies. These factors, alongside the role modelling of risky behaviour by their parents, increase the likelihood of children engaging in health-harming behaviours themselves as they grow up.
Supporting families can include:
- Talking to them in a non-judgemental way about the risks they are taking and the impact this may have on their children
- Making information about support for drug or alcohol problems available in positive and non-judgemental ways
- Promoting local services
- National services such as telephone helplines and have these on notice boards in areas parents use or on leaflets they can help themselves to.
Further resources and information
The NHS website has advice and information about:
- calories and units in alcohol
- how much is too much
- how to cut back
- health risks and what you can do to avoid them
You can find information about agencies who can provide help and advice about alcohol and drugs on the Bristol Mind website.
Unity Sexual Health Services
Unity is the integrated sexual health service for adults and young people, promoting healthier relationships and sexual wellbeing throughout life, with improved sexual health outcomes for the people of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire https://www.unitysexualhealth.co.uk/
GPs also provide some sexual health services
ROADS (Recovery Orientated Alcohol and Drug Service)
Bristol ROADS provides a wide range of service for individuals wishing to access support and treatment for problematic alcohol and drug use, as well as support for their friends and family https://www.dhi-online.org.uk/get-help/adult-drug-alcohol-treatment/bristol-roads