New campaign calls for the NHS to recognise the link between relationships and health, improving health and wellbeing and reducing pressure on the public purse
Relate NI is calling on government to put relationships at the heart of the NHS so that more people in Northern Ireland living with long term health conditions can access relationship support. This comes as a report released this week by the national charity Relate finds that the link between relationships and health is too often ignored in the NHS, and new polling suggests that the effects of living with health conditions are putting pressure on people’s relationships. The report, ‘The Best Medicine? – The importance of relationships for health and wellbeing’, was produced by Relate in partnership with National Philanthropy Capital, (NPC), the charity think tank and consultancy. An event was held in London this week to mark the launch of the report which was attended by the Chief Executive of Relate NI, Dave Murphy.
A YouGov poll found that around 1 in 4 people with a life-limiting health problem or who are disabled said their condition has impacted negatively on relationships they have or have had with partners (24%), friends (25%), family (23%) or colleagues (33%).*
Despite clear evidence that good quality relationships can prevent, delay or minimise the effects of health conditions, only half (51%) of those with a life-limiting health problem or who are disabled and have received professional support said it has taken their relationships into account effectively. A further 21% said they feel the support they received hasn’t considered their relationships at all.
Relate NI sees this as a missed opportunity to improve lives and reduce pressure on the public purse, so is backing the launch of Relate’s national campaign called ‘The Best Medicine’. The campaign aims to show that relationships are critical to our health and wellbeing and calls on local health policy makers to take them into account.
Dave Murphy, Chief Executive at Relate NI, said: “It can be a long road when you’re living with physical or mental health condition, and couple, family and social relationships are a vital part of making the journey better. Yet when we need our relationships most, the effects of having a health condition can pile on the pressure.
That’s why Relate NI is calling on local health policy makers to put relationships at the heart of the NHS. We want excellent relationship support to be made more accessible at the point of diagnosis and beyond. There are 15 million people living with long term health conditions in the UK.**”
Whilst excellent relationship support is out there, Relate’s poll found that 91%* of people with a life-limiting health problem or who are disabled aren’t aware of it. Relate NI can help people with many different health conditions such as stroke, cancer and depression to maintain strong relationships.
The local charity wants health policy makers in the area to change lives, recommending that:
To find out more about The Best Medicine campaign visit www.relate.org.uk/the bestmedicine.
Relate NI can help people whether they are struggling to deal with a diagnosis and the fallout, need help telling others what is happening, or are supporting someone else. Relate’s trained counsellors provide impartial and non-judgmental information, support and counselling for all stages of the journey.
For more information and advice about Relate NI visit: www.relateni.org or telephone 028 90323454.
Relate NI’s tips for keeping relationships rich during poor health:
The Best Medicine campaign is being supported by a host of charities including Mind, The Stroke Association, Alzheimer’s Society, Prostate Cancer UK, Breast Cancer Care, the National Aids Trust, Body and Soul, Headway, The James Whale Trust for Kidney Cancer and The Mental Health Foundation.
To view a full copy of the report visit www.relate.org.uk/policy-campaigns/publications/best-medicine-importance-relationships-health-and-wellbeing
*Total sample size was 2,221 adults, 672 of whom had a long term health problem or disability. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27th February – 2nd March 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+). All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.
** Taken from the Department of Health Long Term Conditions Compendium of Information, Third Edition, 2012.« Listen Again to Radio Ulster’s Charity Appeal for Relate NI People living in the Northern Ireland report better relationships with mums than dads »
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