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  • 22nd Mar 2016

Five factors for supporting people to take a more active role in health and wellbeing

Today we launch a report, as part of the Realising the Value consortium, that aims to show how people themselves can take more active roles in their own health and care. They, along with their communities, can create self-care routines which boost health and wellbeing. The potential value of this approach is often underappreciated by health care practitioners, commissioners, and people themselves. As a result, people don’t always seek or receive the best support to sustain healthy lifestyles, or have the know-how to hardwire this into their day-to-day lives.

Our report Making the change: Behavioural factors in person- and community-centred approaches for health and wellbeing highlights five factors that can enable healthier behaviours and effective management of conditions. They are:

  1. having a growth mindset, building self-efficacy and ‘grit’;
  2. removing small barriers to healthy behaviour;
  3. strengthening social connections;
  4. tapping into intrinsic motivation; and
  5. goal setting and feedback.

Case studies from Horsham and Mid-Sussex CCG, Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council’s Wellbeing Team and Mind help to breathe life into the theory.

Since December 2015 BIT researchers have been spending time with each of Realising the Value’s partner sites. This is where the theories from academic papers really come to life. The scientific name for this work is ‘participant observation’, and it has taken different forms in the different sites.

  • To experience self-management education we attended cookery demonstrations, a mindfulness session, and a problem solving slot on managing finances alongside cancer at Penny Brohn.
  • With Creative Minds we took part in a fabulous live arts café where people managing mental health conditions came together to make support networks and have fun.
  • At Positively UK we shadowed peer support workers as they enrolled new clients and gave them hope for regaining a sense of control over their lives post-diagnosis.
  • Tech and Tea sessions run by Inspiring Communities Together (partners of Unlimited Potential) were enabling elderly people to access self-care information in Salford, as well as building a sense of self-confidence for trying new things (an important part of behaviour change, as Making the change explains).
  • And we saw goal-setting and incremental health ‘wins’ in action with the clients and health coaches of Being Well Salford (part of Big Life).

Cross referencing these case studies with the literature and boiling them down into recommendations for action is our next task here at BIT. Throughout Spring we will be sharing the practical resources that we are developing with the Realising the Value sites and wider groups to enable the spread of these exciting practices across the UK. Look out for them later in 2016.