There are only 52 weeks a year. There are only 365 days a year.
There are so many important and worthwhile health messages that need awareness and funding and attention. And this week, there is a lot going on.
As I wrote yesterday, it’s Women’s Health Week. (#womenshealthweek)
It is also Body Image and Eating Disorders Awareness Week where the aim is to raise awareness of eating disorders while also promoting positive body confidence. (#BIEDAW) Tying in with this, the Butterfly Foundation has also named the week Love Your Body Week. (#loveyourbodyweek)
And today is R U OK? Day – a day where we are encouraged to check in with our friends and family and ask the questions ‘Are you okay?’ The idea is about finding ways to communicate effectively and comfortably and check how people are. Have a look at the national awareness campaign, ‘Thanks for Asking’. (#RUOK)
But wait; there’s more.
It is also World Suicide Prevention Day. The theme for this year is ‘Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives’. More here. (#WSPD)
All of these initiatives are important. Each one needs attention. Mental illness and mental health run through all of these health weeks, and we know that talking about mental illness helps reduce stigma and, hopefully, have more people knowing where to seek help.
Keeping up with what is going on with all the different awareness weeks and days is almost a full time job! It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the barrage of health messaging and the calls to action.
I would receive dozens of emails each week from different health organisations highlighting why their week is important, why their condition or their messaging needs attention. I rarely disagree. Reputable health organisations spend a great deal of time and effort development their messaging. There is considerable attention given to campaign materials and promotional activities. Each and every ‘cause’ is worthwhile and I want to be involved in all of them.
But it’s just not possible to do it all.
Today, however, I am watching this from NCD Free which has been released just in time for World Suicide Prevention Day, which looks at the link between chronic kidney disease, alcohol use and suicide in rural Sri Lanka.
Plus, I am checking in with people and asking how they are doing – with the very conscious understanding that R U OK? day is not a tick box event that once it’s over means I don’t need to check in on people on other days.
And I am reading the Thursday messaging from Jean Hailes for Women’s Health which today focuses on way to manage our health – who and what to ask.
I am also considering body image – my body image – and how I’ve recently been feeling about myself and how I look.
And on top of all that, I am keeping up with everything on social media and hashtagging (not a word!) the hell out of it all.
Next week, it will start again – with something else. Something equally important; something equally needing attention. And it happens all alongside the health condition that I manage each and every day. Because even if it isn’t on the calendar, every day to me is diabetes day and each week is diabetes week.