Five signs that indicate a positive shift towards self-care and preventative health

Earlier this month, we hosted a webinar ‘Why now is the time for positive public health & self-care messaging’ where we explored the small green shoots of the pandemic – namely its potential for driving positive behaviour change when it comes to self-care and preventative health, shifting from ‘sick care’ to ‘health care’. If you missed it, you can access the recording here and below.

Brands2Life Health and Wellbeing MD Emily Thomas was joined by the following experts:

  • Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and media personality
  • Leyla Hannbeck, Chief Executive, Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies
  • Donna Castle, Executive Director of Policy and Communications at the PAGB
  • Dan Honeywell, technology entrepreneur and CEO of Zedsen

Our panellists all agreed that we have reached a watershed moment, where people are far more interested in their health than ever before. When the lead topic on the news has been so undeniably a ‘health story’, we have become more attuned than ever to the decisions that affect our health, from eating well and exercising more, to addressing long term conditions like obesity and diabetes.

Here are the five key outtakes from the webinar, which offer some hope and optimism on the horizon:

People are more likely to self-care now than ever before

A survey conducted by the PAGB in June found that 69% of people who hadn’t considered self-care before the pandemic are more likely to do so now. In addition, just over half (51%) of those who’d said they’d see a GP first about a minor ailment said they are less likely to do so now. The question now is how we seize this momentum and encourage people to maintain these good habits.  This potential impact is huge; GP time freed up for patients who most need it, a £780m cost saving to the NHS and a population more engaged with their own personal health.

Health prevention is now front and centre

COVID-19 has accelerated an always on approach to maintaining health.  Like cars, which have sensors and need regular servicing, we need to invest more time up front to keep people healthy.   The pandemic has proven that our health service can’t deal with a large proportion of the population being sick at the same time.   Government messages about the correlation between obesity and COVID-19 seem to have hit home – Dr Jarvis explained how many of her patients, for the first time, felt now was the time to act.

Brands have a role to play as a trusted health source

There was consensus that brands have an important role to play in supporting people’s fledgling self-care routines.  Leveraging their trusted heritage and familiarity, brands are able to provide reliable, trusted education and information to help people make better choices.   There is a real thirst for reputable information and this is where brands fit in so well.

Health technology has accelerated rapidly

Health technology has been a huge enabler during the pandemic and its role and relevance is only gaining pace, giving people the knowledge to make better, informed decisions about the state of their health, and what’s normal to them.   While this trend was initially driven by necessity, it’s now here to stay.   Remote GP consultations are becoming more common place – only 56% of GP appointments were in person in September and NICE recently issued guidelines advocating the use of digital and mobile interventions to support behaviour change.

The value and role of pharmacists recognised

Pharmacists have been hugely busy during the pandemic, providing advice and support to both people who need medical guidance as well as those who have found themselves socially isolated and lonely. Pharmacists have long been the bastion of localised, community care and their importance as partners to GPS, offering front line care, has now been recognised.  In fact, the PAGB survey found that 31% people said they were much more likely to ask pharmacists for advice than before the pandemic.  A positive shift that better uses their skills and expertise and bodes well for the future.

Our panellists concluded on a note of optimism, that there is a fundamental opportunity to reset the way we think about health.  To treat our bodies like the luxury that we need to keep forever and that there is no better time to send out positive public health and self-care messages.

Written by Sarah Thompson, Account Director Brands2Life Health and Wellbeing.

To watch more Brands2Life’s webinars on demand and to see what’s coming up next visit our webinar series site.