Spotlight on Making Every Contact Count

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Spotlight on Making Every Contact Count

This newsletter is for everyone working with children and adults in Waltham Forest.

Please share with your colleagues and encourage them to sign up to get it regularly

What is Making Every Contact Count?

walking in forest

Making Every Contact Count (MECC) is an approach to behaviour change that uses the
many day-to-day interactions that organisations and individuals have with other
people to support them in making positive changes to their physical and mental health
and wellbeing.

Many long-terms diseases in our population are closely linked to known behavioural risk factors. Around 40% of the UK’s disability adjusted life years lost are attributable to tobacco, hypertension, alcohol, being overweight or being physically inactive.

Making changes such as stopping smoking, improving diet, increasing physical activity, losing weight and reducing alcohol consumption can help people to reduce their risk of poor health significantly. 

The fundamental idea underpinning the MECC approach is simple. It recognises that
staff across health, local authority and voluntary sectors have thousands of contacts
every day with individuals and are ideally placed to promote health and healthy lifestyles.
MECC focuses on the lifestyle issues that, when addressed, can make the greatest
improvement to an individual’s health.

Having a constructive conversation

It can feel daunting to start a conversation with someone about their lifestyles and behaviours. Use cues from the individual or their environment to start a conversation – for example, they might say they are struggling to leave the house, that they are craving a cigarette, or if you are in their home and see lots of empty bottles or junk food packaging.

It only takes a minute. You don’t have to be an expert – you just need to be able to give one tip or suggestion for the individual to consider and be able to signpost them to a relevant service, for example the local stop smoking service, online mental health support, alcohol and drugs services, or it could even just be directing them to book an appointment with their GP.

Priya's story

supporting vulnerable residents

Priya, mother of two, lives in Chingford and works full-time in the City. She has a strong support network. Every evening after work she has a glass of wine, another with dinner, and often a third when the kids are in bed, adding up to 40-60 units over a week, far exceeding the recommended maximum limit of 14 units a week. 

Priya knows about the health effects of alcohol, but doesn’t see her use of alcohol as an issue. It’s easy for Priya to avoid acknowledging her drinking as she is able to carry out her day to day activities with little impact. She doesn’t drink during the day. It doesn’t affect her work / family and it’s considered ‘normal’ to have a drink or two in the evening. However, recently, she’s felt lower in mood and has less energy.

Priya is picking up a repeat prescription from her GP surgery. While there, she gets chatting to Sheila, the receptionist, who sees that Priya looks stressed and asks how she’s feeling. Priya says she is a little hungover and is always tired recently. Sheila says ‘Do you mind if I ask you a question about that?’ and Priya tells her about her usual evening drinks.

Sheila’s been trained in MECC and she suggests some quick tips for cutting down, including swapping for a smaller size of drink, and seeing if Priya’s partner would be willing to slowly cut down with her, starting with just maybe one glass with dinner. Sheila has recently tried a non-alcoholic mocktail, which she recommends to Priya.

Sheila also uses the opportunity to emphasise some of the health benefits that she notices are the most relevant to Priya, including improved sleep, more energy and feeling fresher in the morning. She gives Priya a leaflet for the Drinkcoach app to help her set goals and track her progress.

Making Every Contact Count training

Making Every Contact Count (MECC) is about using the power of short conversations to help people connect to different services, access the support they need and stay well in these challenging times. 

The free 90-minute course will help professionals understand MECC principles and core skills, introduce resources that support good conversations and signposting, and think about how MECC can fit into day-to-day roles.

Sign up for upcoming training sessions 

In other news

fellowship square

Celebrating Autistic Pride day and Learning Disabilities Week at Fellowship Square:

Autistic Pride Day at Fellowship Square on Friday 17 June, 3pm-6.30pm

Learning Disabilities Week Celebration at Fellowship Square on Monday 20 June, 1pm-6pm

Find out more

Professionals across the partnership are invited to sign up to the following FREE online safeguarding training sessions:

Tuesday 19 July - 10.30 to 12.30pm:Safeguarding Adolescents Awareness Training

Wednesday 7 September - 2 to 4pm: Impact of modern slavery on women in Waltham Forest

Tuesday 5 July - 10 to 11am: Supporting women in prostitution: language, framing and referral routes

This newsletter is brought to you by the Strategic Partnership Boards, which is made up of Waltham Forest Safeguarding Children’s Board, Safeguarding Adults Board, Health & Wellbeing Board and SafetyNet (our Community Safety Partnership).

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Summer starts here_May 2022

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