God helps those who help themselves… and so does the NHS!
As part of Self Care Week, running from November 12th to 18th, the NHS is targeting more than 22 million people to get them more actively engaged in their own wellbeing. Under the banner of “Choose Self Care for Life”, it aims to empower people to better look after their own health.
While the NHS is always there at times of medical need, it also believes most people could be more proactive in looking after their own good health. This would not only benefit individuals, but also ease the national burden of the NHS because prevention is not only better than cure, it’s more cost-effective too.
Whether it is about self-treatable conditions, long-term conditions or lifestyle choices to ensure better physical and mental wellbeing, Self Care Week raises awareness of the huge benefits of people looking after themselves better. Organised by the Self Care Forum, its key messages include:
- How people can better look after their own physical health and mental wellbeing as well as that of their family.
- Encouraging people to take action for both themselves and others to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, wellbeing or wellness.
- Understanding how to use health services; where to access services for particular symptoms and a reminder about the role of the pharmacist in offering fast, convenient health and wellbeing advice.
- Self care can be as simple as brushing your teeth and eating healthily, to self-treating common conditions and managing long-term conditions. It is also about reducing your chance of contracting avoidable conditions by taking steps towards a healthy lifestyle.
Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England said: “Last year, Self Care Week reached more than 22 million people via more than 300 organisations who participated, ranging from the traditional health organisations to schools, universities, businesses, gyms and parks. This year we hope to reach even more people.
“Self care is vitally important, not least as we go into winter when looking after ourselves and keeping healthy is so important. We want to raise awareness and provide information and advice so people can manage their own health needs where possible. This will also support nurses, doctors and other health care professionals to care for those who really need their skill and expertise.”
Dr Pete Smith co-chair of the Self Care Forum, explained: “Our aim is to further the reach of self care and embed it into everyone’s everyday life, making it a life-long habit and culture. We want people to instinctively understand how to look after their own physical health and mental wellbeing. Self care is nothing less than actions to lead to a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life,”
Dr Kurt Schroeder, a GP and board member of the Self Care Forum, has developed a free self care app which people can download to their smartphone as a practical tool in managing their own good health. He said: “Health apps are easily accessible for anyone with a smartphone.
“Containing information, advice and tips on topics ranging from first aid and healthy living to pregnancy and mental health, health apps can be great for learning more about health issues and enabling people to self care. If you’re not sure which apps to use, check out the NHS Apps library for approved digital tools to help you manage and improve your health.”
You can visit the NHS Apps library by clicking here and you can also find out more about Self Care Week by clicking here. The Self Care Forum has also produced a library of helpful factsheets on how self care can help in managing a range of common medical conditions. To see the list and download individual factsheets, click here.