HEALTH LITERACY MONTH
October recognizes Health Literacy Month. During this time, organizations and individuals promote the importance of understandable health information. Health Literacy Month brings awareness to breaking down the barriers of understanding. According to health experts, there is a large gap between the way health care issues are communicated by professionals, and the ability of the average person to understand them. Most people have limited health literacy… Not just those with limited reading or writing skills. If someone struggles to understand health literacy, statistically, they are more likely to skip important medical tests, have a harder time living with conditions, and visit the emergency room more often. This is why understanding health literacy is so important for everyone.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Use #HealthLiteracyMonth to post on social media. The good news is, many health care facilities are trying to improve the way they communicate with patients to make sure everything is clear before the patient leaves. They are doing things like simplifying their written materials, using video and photos to teach patients, and more to help doctors clearly get their message across. There are a few things you can do to improve your own health literacy, too.
- Improve your communication with health professionals. Make a list of your symptoms before you go in, have questions written down, and take a few notes when your doctor is explaining things to you.
- Make sure you know who to call with any questions when you leave.
- Attend health education programs at a library, community center, or anywhere you can find them in your community.
- Talk to local schools and request that kids are taught about health literacy and education so they are prepared as they get older.
Helen Osborne founded Health Literacy Month in 1999. She said the theme for Health Literacy Month is “Be a Health Literacy Hero.”