Health Promotion: Challenges, Concepts and Campaigns by Gary Finlayson

Health promotion has always been an integral part of The Corner where the multidisciplinary nature of the service lends itself to different theories and approaches to health promotion. The Corner has a long history of raising awareness of national health days however in 2007 the team decided to make campaigns more structured using feedback from young people. This move lent itself to the young people friendly ethos of The Corner and sits at the heart of the community learning and development aspect of the service.

This quote taken from the first International Health Conference in 1986 still rings true in terms of our approach to health promotion.

“Health promotion supports personal and social development through providing information, education for health, and enhancing life skills…

…To reach a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, an individual or group must be able to identify and to realize aspirations, to satisfy needs, and to change or cope with the environment…Therefore, health promotion is not just the responsibility of the health sector, but goes beyond healthy life-styles to well-being.”

As The Corner is a multidisciplinary team which focuses on providing health information and peer led services, there are a variety of different approaches to health promotion that can be called upon and shared with colleagues.

I thought it would be of interest to bring to life some of the work I am involved in at The Corner. Health campaigns are a major part of our health promotion and are also important links into the organisational aims and the wider Learning and Community Objectives. They are created to meet the interests and ongoing needs of young people across Dundee and each campaign provides vital information which helps shape and inform our service.

Brief overview of Changes to The Corner Health Campaigns:

A needs assessment was conducted in 2007 where young people were asked what topics they would like more information on.

In 2008 a larger needs assessment was conducted where young people were asked how they felt health promotion messages should be delivered.

In 2009 the process of planning, delivering and completing a campaign was reviewed along with the relevant paperwork, with the aim to have a more streamlined service.

In 2010 The Corner recognised the benefits of using the NHS Health Scotland’s Health promoting Health service framework to plan deliver and evaluate the campaigns. The health promotion folders were audited by Dundee City Council.

In 2011 staff looked out with the service to its partners for inspiration for health topics. Partners consulted with young people and this feedback was used to help The Corner plan the campaigns for the following year.

The Corner staff review the campaign process each year, looking at what young people access the service for and what the current local trends in Dundee are. Staff found it is important to have a hook that encourages young people to take part in the campaigns. Themes from music, films, festivals and TV shows have been used to create tag lines which encompass the topic being promoted. The key to the success of the campaigns is the diversity of topics, of which some of the recent campaigns have focused on diabetes, e-citizenship, resilience, employment and mental health.

From 2012 staff started to move more outside the box with regards to thinking about health related topics. Training that staff attended, or social topics that garnered more awareness, began to inform health promotion topics such as men’s health, consent, bereavement, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) issues, welfare rights and sexting.

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2012 also saw a greater focus with other partners from the voluntary sector, Dundee City Council and NHS Tayside. For example, The Corner worked with and continues to work with the Centre for Brain Injury and Rehabilitation service at the Royal Victoria Hospital on brain injury awareness by supporting the service during brain injury awareness week. This work is being further developed by aiming to use social media and the production of an information DVD targeting young people aged 16-21 to address risk taking behaviours, accidents and potential head injury.

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The Corner Website and Twitter is also an extremely important tool to communicate with young people and is now being used to promote materials that were created for the campaigns. This means that we can reach young people even if they have never visited The Corner drop-in. For example an information film has been produced that helps give an overview of how to reduce potential barriers as well as showing the process of accessing the service.

Campaigns have also helped to influence our own practice where we have created leaflets and other resources which have been used in our city centre drop in. We have also shared our resources and the findings from our campaigns with local and national services. Resources are also brought to school health Drop ins, which are run in partnership with guidance and school nurse staff and partner agencies. Finally, The Corner campaign work will continue to be reflected upon as staff continue to recognise that reflection, creativity and diversity are needed to keep our health promotion work relevant to our target age group.

The Corner is a Health, Information and Peer Led Service for young people aged 11-25 and is funded by NHS Tayside and Dundee City council. For further information on The Corner please visit www.thecorner.co.uk

Reference

The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. First International Conference on Health Promotion Ottawa, 17-21 November 1986.

Gary Finlayson is a Health Promotion Worker at The Corner, Dundee.

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