Familiar faces take on Count 14 challenge

As part of our Count 14 island-wide campaign, nine familiar faces have been monitoring the number of units they drank in a week while trying to not exceed the recommended guideline of 14 units for women and men and they filmed how they got on.

We launched the ‘Count 14’ campaign in Guernsey last month to raise awareness of the recommended drinking guidelines. The guidelines advise that to keep health risks from alcohol low that both men and women should not drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis and to spread the units out evenly over three or more days. To encourage islanders to follow the guidelines, we created a video documenting familiar faces taking on their own 14-day Count 14 challenge. The participants were given unit calculators and measuring cups to help accurately work out how many units they drank. In week one of the challenge, they kept a drink diary, noting what they were drinking, when and how many units they drank in a normal week. In week two the challenge really began when they had to consciously aim to keep their drinking within the Count 14 guidelines, while keeping a video log about how they were getting on. In the video the familiar faces reflect on when and why they have chosen to have a drink and how their drinking is adding up towards the 14-unit guideline throughout the week. 

For many it was an eye-opening exercise, highlighting how much they drink and helping them to consider whether they could have chosen a non-alcoholic drink instead. Brandi Attewell is a Zumba instructor who took part in the challenge. 

I made it through the week at 14 units. You don’t realise how many units you actually consume until you do something like this. Maybe I do drink too much in one week and I just didn’t realise.

Brandi Attewell - Zumba instructor

Ian Brown is a business owner who also took part. Whilst he did not stick to 14 units he said:

I learnt a lot. I didn’t think I was in an ‘at risk’ group, I thought I was a light drinker, but it looks like my normal drinking habits are at about 14 per week maybe a bit over.

Ian Brown

Andrea Nightingale, The Health Improvement Commission’s Substance Use Lead, said:

We’re very grateful to all of the familiar faces who took part in the Count 14 challenge. With their support we hope to spread the campaign’s message and raise further awareness of the guidelines.

Count 14 is not about telling people not to drink but rather being mindful and aware of what and how much we are drinking. Collaborating with local familiar faces, who are talking about their relationship with alcohol, helps to normalise the conversation.

Anyone can take part in the challenge, it’s a good way to see how much you drink - it may be more than you think. To help count your units you can collect unit calculators and measuring cups from the KGV and most GP surgeries.

Andrea Nightingale, Substance Use Lead, The Health Improvement Commission

Free unit calculators and measuring cups are available from all GP surgeries and various community venues, see here for more.