Alcohol use, mental health and post-secondary school

Published on March 26, 2024

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A post-secondary student thinking about alcohol use at a sunny outdoor event

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It’s common in movies, television, books and music — drinking alcohol. But drinking isn’t just something that’s portrayed in the media… it’s something people often do in real life. And it can lead to real-life impacts. On this page, Good2Talk collaborates with The Knowledge Institute to share information about alcohol use and mental health for post-secondary students. You can find a link to The Knowledge Institute’s website to read their full resource about alcohol use at the end of this page.

Some people may choose to use alcohol in order to:

  • boost their confidence
  • celebrate a milestone
  • cope with difficult emotions
  • experiment with substances
  • fit in with their peers
  • follow a parent / caregiver’s example
  • have fun
  • relax
  • relieve stress

Depending on how much alcohol you drink, how often you drink, etc., alcohol use may lead to different effects, including:

  • alcohol poisoning
  • blackouts
  • cancer
  • drinking and driving
  • hangovers
  • impacted performance at school / work
  • impaired decision making
  • impaired memory
  • impulsive / potentially unsafe behaviours
  • liver cirrhosis
  • violence

If you decide to engage in alcohol use, there are things you can try to reduce the risk of harm and take care of your mental health and well-being (tap for tips from Kids Help Phone). You can:

  • avoid leaving a drink unsupervised
  • avoid mixing substances
  • eat a full meal before drinking alcohol / using substances
  • have a non-alcoholic drink in between alcoholic drinks
  • make a safety plan (tap for a tool from Kids Help Phone)
  • plan for a safer way home (e.g. identify a designated driver, etc.)
  • set your own limits (and stick to them!)
  • share your location with people you trust
  • take breaks

If alcohol use is affecting your life, you’re not alone. Individual and group supports are available across Canada for you and / or the people you care about. To learn more about drinking and ways to prioritize your health and well-being, you can explore The Knowledge Institute’s website.

You might notice The Knowledge Institute uses different language, style, processes, etc. than Good2Talk. You can always use the words, resources and supports that work best for you.

Are you considering seeking support for alcohol use (or any type of substance use) and / or your mental health as a post-secondary student? You can contact a professional counsellor or volunteer crisis responder 24/7. We’re Good2Talk whenever you need us!

Contact us 24/7.
We’re Good2Talk whenever you need us!

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