Understanding how making every contact count (MECC) can influence and promote positive mental health and wellbeing is a must for all nurses irrespective of role and specialist field.

MECC is designed so as to make use of the interactions that we have every day and through the connections made, nurses can help to support behavioural changes that have a positive effect on health and wellbeing.

Here are just a few examples of how nurses can make a difference in their interactions with patients and service users every day in a variety of healthcare settings.

With the NHS now making the promotion of positive mental health a priority and creating parity between physical health, it could be argued that there is much to celebrate.  Why not take a look at the NHS website on mental health, and find out how, as nurses, we can become more involved in leading the way.

Let’s also consider the current debate surrounding obesity. Referenced in The Telegraph in 2016, Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England said that approximately 40% of the workload of the NHS is related to ‘modifiable risk factors’. Despite the strong challenge to this view from The Spectator  it is obvious that the rising levels of obesity is a major concern.

Encouragingly ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) which provides regular statistical data on smoking, confirms that fewer than 1 in 5 adults in the UK now smoke. Smoking however still has major consequences. According to figures provided by ASH, about half of all those who smoke regularly will die as a result of their addiction. Furthermore, 96,000 people will die in the UK each year as a result of diseases caused by smoking. The National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT) offers a variety of on-line learning opportunities. Why not take a look? Great for revalidation too.

Alcohol misuse also continues to be of great concern to public health in the UK. Statistical data are a cause for concern in this area. Indeed, The World Health Organization is particularly worried about this and has developed a global strategy to help reduce both the social and health impact of alcohol addiction.

As we celebrate 70 years of the NHS perhaps it is important to reflect upon what has been and what is yet to come. The NMC, as stated in The Code, requires all nurses to ‘pay special attention to promoting wellbeing’, but for some this can be challenging, particularly when many find it difficult to follow the advice they themselves are giving. Nonetheless, nurses must begin somewhere. So let’s start with understanding the work associated with making every contact count. Let’s take a bit of our own advice and become role models for public health. Nurses can make a difference. We just need to do it one patient or service user at a time.

Catherine Kelsey is a Queen’s Nurse and Nursing Lecturer at Bradford University.

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