Health Creation requires action across systems and at all levels. It happens principally through constructive and meaningful relationships where people can learn from each others’ experiences and through blending their ideas. This can best be enabled through bringing together professionals from diverse backgrounds, community members and people with lived experience to learn from each other.
Every place is different so diverse place-based communities are important for the learning process. But communities can also learn from each other so a national network of health creators across many sectors is a hugely valuable resource to aid learning.
To deliver long-term sustainable improvements in health and reduce health inequalities, the practice of Health Creation has to become embedded across whole systems. It is not a distinct service or practice that can be learned through traditional teaching. Rather, it is a different way of approaching everything we do. Health Creation needs to become ‘the way we do things round here’.
We have a growing range of free resources that you can download, and use with colleagues, to evolve the way you work with partners and communities to help transform your services to make them more health creating.
The Health Creation Alliance Discovery Programmes offer learning opportunities through structured, bespoke programmes for 20 to 40 participants. Participants learn with and from others, including those from the same, and other, professional backgrounds.
Effective, genuine listening to the reality of people’s and communities’ lives is essential. As is acting differently upon what is heard, and not just reverting to the established systems. Listening can also help to build trust that enables truth-telling if people feel safe to open up about matters they might be hiding, even from themselves. Being listened to can also be therapeutic in itself.
When people and practitioners identify and acknowledge what holds them back from creating health, rather than treating illness, they can start to get to the root causes of problems and solutions. This can be a challenge to the system because it is not set up to create health through a social process.
Health creation happens when attention is paid to what people can do for themselves or others. Making people aware of their strengths and finding opportunities for them to employ them unlocks their potential and builds confidence for creating health.
Helping people to connect meaningfully with others makes it possible for them to find solutions and take actions together. They are more likely to find purpose in their lives and this drives wellness. Over time, people become less reliant on health and care services.
Health creating relationships go two ways. People are proud and don’t want to have something for nothing. They do, however, want to be acknowledged for their contributions to community health and wellbeing and for services to respond to them.
A health creating environment is nurtured when people can both get what they need and have the opportunity to give back in ways that suit them. Reciprocity builds respectful relationships, where communities and services are mutually responsive and play complementary roles.
Lasting health creation happens when the health creating features above result in a power shift from practitioners to people and communities. When people’s expertise and strengths are recognised and valued, they can make good decisions, take action and have an influence over things that affect them and their environment. Services can then adapt and respond accordingly.