In a project to target communities who face health inequalities, the CCG has put in plans to embark on some face-to-face engagement led by our partners in the voluntary sector.
The aim of the project is to reduce inappropriate or avoidable attendance at the local A&E department. Growing academic theory suggests that traditional communications channels – such as newspaper stories, posters, social media or radio advertising – do not influence people living in poverty. More so, face to face engagement is increasingly considered the most influential form of communication when dealing with residents living in poorer areas.
A volunteer team will knock on doors in targeted areas supported by a script that provided key messages about alternative health services with easy to read printed online materials. The project is expected to run in April 2018, hence more details on the project will appear in next year’s Annual Report.
8 out of 10 mums – Facebook group
In 2017/18 we engaged with a popular Facebook forum aimed at parents in Essex. We asked them which aspect of health they felt least informed about to help them care for their children. Sepsis was identified as the most popular area that local parents wanted to be more informed about. As a consequence, we linked up with the forum and the specialist sepsis nurse at Southend Hospital to launch a communications campaign to educate followers on sepsis to ensure swift action is taken using a local case study. The video was viewed over 1,500 times over two months and it helped raise awareness of symptoms to prevent delayed diagnosis and the need for intensive, costly care.
Reaching new audiences
We have a developed a good relationship with our local Football club, Southend United. This partnership has helped us to reach a predominantly male audience with two communications, one to encourage appropriate use of NHS services and the other to encourage those with respiratory conditions the importance of self-care. Use of popular football players and a 360 photoshoot of the stadium has helped secure wide engagement for both campaigns.
Reprezent Essex engagement programme
There are almost one million young people in Essex, and at least 10% experience mental health issues. 10% of referrals to the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service are currently for active self-harm, and 30% for historic self-harm. There are an audience which historically have been hard to reach.
Following 15 years of successful broadcasting and youth-led training and engagement in London, Reprezent was asked to extend its activities to Essex.
With increasing pressure on Mental Health services, it’s vital that we increase awareness of issues amongst young people in Essex, and give them the tools to become resilient and to take control of their own health. This will result in better life quality, the ability to support friends and family, and reduced pressure on the NHS.