HEALTH LITERACY MONTH | OCTOBER
During the month of October, Health Literacy Month encourages everyone working to provide easy access to understandable health information.
During this time, organizations and individuals promote the importance of understandable health information along with bringing 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 HEALTH LITERACY MONTH
The good news is, that 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.
HEALTH LITERACY MONTH HISTORY
For more than 20 years, October has been recognized as Health Literacy Month. Health Literacy Month is a time of international observance when hospitals, health centers, literacy programs, libraries, social service agencies, businesses, professional associations, government agencies, consumer alliances, and many other groups work collaboratively to integrate and expand the mission of health literacy.
Learn more about health literacy, how to take action to create awareness, and access a digital toolkit for your promotional needs at www.healthliteracymonth.org
Helen Osborne founded Health Literacy Month in 1999. She said the theme is “Be a Health Literacy Hero.”
Here are a few other health-related pages to discover more for your healthy living: