Challenge: How to attract people to wellness?

 

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Health and wellness is distributed unevenly throughout the nation. Highly educated people with high income levels are healthier, whereas people with low levels of education and income are less healthy on average and suffer more from illnesses. Differences in wellness and health levels concern the whole nation as both increase as levels of education and income increase. Differences in wellness and health levels occur also between geographical areas and social groups.

There are complex reasons for differences in wellness and health levels. The government’s flagship initiative Good practices for continuous use –project aims to affect lifestyles and participation. The goal is to attract people to take better care of themselves and others as well as to live in more healthy and social ways. Changes can be decreasing loneliness, increasing levels of activity, improving nutritional quality, fixing sleep cycles, decreasing the use of intoxicants, quitting smoking, strengthening mental health skills as well as social participation and improved control of everyday lives.

Information about health and wellness is available in the media, from professionals and from elementary school. However, information has the biggest impact on people who are already interested in wellness and not those, who belong to risk groups. This is because of, amongst others, social connections, motivation and an individual’s ability to change habits.

How could we pique people’s interest in their own health?

Traditional lifestyle guidance and coaching is often too serious and boring lacking in levity and fun. Solutions to this challenge can vary, for instance, gamification can offer diverse and inspiring possibilities to affect the wellness behavior of different groups. The target groups of the challenge can be low income families with children, marginalized youths, the unemployed or employees with low levels of education, people suffering mental health problems or intoxicant abuse, immigrants or other ethnic minorities. Alternatively, solutions can attract different age groups or people from different backgrounds to the same applications.

How can people find the source of wellness?

Finding information easily about different support groups, courses, healthcare services, exercise places or similar could help customers and professionals at social and healthcare points. This could be solved by, for example, a nationwide or regional portal or location service with information about, e.g. sleep groups, The Martha Organization cookery classes, and contact information for exercise friendship activities, local outdoor activity spots and gyms. Information should be as concrete as possible, for instance, the organizer, date, time, exact address, and price and contact information. Usage levels would increase with visuals and attractiveness. Maps could be used so that important places in a person’s everyday life could be placed on a map and the application could offer services and support forms suitable to the person’s needs and daily routes.

How can we add companies and communities social responsibility?

How can we offer as many services as possible also for free to, e.g. customers on social welfare? How do we attract companies and communities to do good and carry social responsibility? Successful examples can be found from Porvoo.

How do we decrease the effect of loneliness and increase a sense of community?

Forms of community have changed and not everyone can access them. We need low threshold meeting points as well as spaces and activities that create communities for different target groups. For example, common living rooms and meals for the elderly, unemployed and marginalized youths have been tried around the country.

Creating “Common kitchen”

The Common kitchen is being created in the flagship initiative bringing people together. Participants will, for example, go to the shop, cook and eat a healthy meal, or enjoy food left over from workplaces or schools. The Common kitchen is easy to access, and people can meet each other and work together. Digital solutions that support the Common kitchen enable diverse use of social media and help reach also the young, elderly, Finns and immigrants that spend time online. The Common kitchen can bring together, amongst others, a low threshold service, peer support activities, volunteerism, and a welfare state’s institutions such as social work. How could the Common kitchen be digitally designed so that digitality supports authorities, users and also third sector actors and volunteers? How can the Common kitchen be made into an attractive brand?

Solutions can be entirely different from what has been suggested. All solutions, however, need to consider how the impact on people’s everyday lives can be followed and evaluated. In other words, how do we know the impact and effectiveness of the solution?

STM1suRGB_135_3Meri Larivaara

Ministry of Social Affairs

 

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