IT IS shocking to read that the NSPCC Helpline reports a 66% increase in concerns about parental use of drugs and alcohol since the start of the Covid crisis.

It often takes a crisis to highlight problems in society.

Dependence on drugs and alcohol has been increasing due to lower cost, easier access to supply and addiction.

Stresses have increased due to lack of work, money or personal space.

Restrictions have forced people to spend more time cooped up indoors or fearful to go out.

The opportunity to express ourselves has been curbed by closure of meeting places and restrictions on seeing friends and relatives during lockdown, plus ever increasing legislation and political correctness.

Our natural coping mechanism to deal with stress is “fight or flight”.

Our wings have been clipped which has produced anger, frustration, depression and anxiety.

These emotions need to be dealt with – not avoided or numbed with drugs or alcohol.

I hope we can start talking about issues more openly.

We need to recognise our problems and voice them.

It is only then, that we can find the help we need.

Helplines and counselling can help the road to recovery.

Cllr Diana Butler