In healthcare, a touch of rebellion is not only needed but essential to infuse the healthcare system with transformation, sparking a shift from reactive to a proactive, self-care centric approach. Healthcare, in all its complexity, yearns for the kind of rebellion that challenges norms, embraces innovation, and places the power of self-care firmly in the hands of those it serves.
The advent of a self-care revolution is poised to redefine healthcare where individuals increase their health literacy, exercise greater choice, autonomy, power, and control of their health, and improve their health and well-being.
We found connection with the “rebel to be well” words of Petra Thaller, the visionary and very passionate founder and president of Outdoor Against Cancer. She recently unfolded an inspiring narrative during her keynote at the 5th European Cancer Forum.
Capitalize On Momentum Of Rebellion
In a world where the impact of cancer is deeply felt, “Rebel to Be Well” echoes as more than a phrase. The present era is one of rebellion, and Petra advocates capitalizing on this collective momentum. “We need to ensure that everyone gets the opportunity to rebel for their own health. They deserve the best starting conditions for their future,” she asserts.
According to the Self-Care Trailblazers Group (SCTG) youth aren’t able to fully engage in self-care because they aren’t always aware of all of the self- care options available and health policies don’t specifically target their unique health needs. These barriers limit youths’ ability to care for their health and well-being.
So the rebellion begins with early education, a cornerstone for building a healthier future. Petra reiterates the urgency, saying, “Start now, not tomorrow. Early education in schools is a must for a healthy future.”
Prevention: The Heart Of The Self-Care Revolution
At the core of a self-care revolution lies prevention. “The power of prevention has a tremendous positive impact on human health, especially when initiated early.” Petra stands as a driving force behind Rock Your Health (RYHEALTH), a collaborative EU-funded project involving six partners across four European countries. The initiative aims to develop a comprehensive intervention for students, fostering a socially integrated concept that reverberates throughout society, significantly impacting health promotion and disease prevention in the EU.
Rock Your Health
RYHEALTH focuses on 4 priorities:
- The Activity Project. ( Physical Activity & Outdoor Sports)
- The Food Project. (Balanced Nutrition)
- The Sustainability Project. (Sustainability & Nature)
- The Happiness Project. (Physical & Mental Well-Being)
The project spans from primary to secondary school, aiming to instill and sustain healthy behaviors. RYHEALTH engages children across various socio-economic backgrounds and actively involves teachers, students, and parents, ensuring an intergenerational impact that aligns with the EU4Health goal of HealthyLifestyle4All.
Private Sector: A Catalyst for Change
In the Self-care Revolution campaign, we call for companies to play a more important role in everyday health and self-care. People around the world are using the private sector to meet their healthcare needs. Unfortunately, self-care policies, financing, and guidelines often do not include the private sector – creating a missed opportunity to advance self-care approaches. “We need to move to a new model that supports consumers in improving their health literacy and equip them with self-care approaches to prevent and manage their health”, says the SCTG.
Companies and brands can help by making healthcare more accessible, equitable, and user-friendly. Self-care can draw on the strength of the private sector, leveraging innovation, research and development, and knowledge of consumer behavior.
According to the Self-Care Trailblazers Group this is especially important for vulnerable populations, including women, girls, transgender individuals, adolescents and young people, rural populations, those in humanitarian situations, and groups that are stigmatized such as people living with HIV and sex workers.
“For many in the private sector, supporting self-care is good for business as well as being good for people.”