What Is Health Improvement?

Health is more than just not being ill. The World Health Organisation says health is "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". Health Improvement works to try and help individuals, communities and society achieve this physical, mental and social well-being.

Health means different things to different people at different times in their lives, and there are lots of things that can affect your health. The diagram below shows the different “layers” in our lives that can affect our health – it’s not always as simple as making healthy choices!

Health improvement is based on a societal model of health.  We believe that health is influenced by political, economic, social, psychological, cultural and environmental factors as well as biological ones.

Health Improvement is about making the health of individuals and communities better – there are a few ways that we do this.

We encourage people to make healthier lifestyle choices for themselves and their families – about things like eating, exercise, smoking and alcohol – and offer practical support to help them do this.

We also encourage and support the Health Board, the SIC, voluntary organisations and businesses to work together to improve health by addressing things like poverty, housing, working conditions, educational opportunities and life/work skills.

We’re looking upstream...

When people talk about Health Improvement they often talk about the "River Story" – trying to help people when they are already ill can be really difficult, and often not very successful, but if you can get to them sooner, and help them improve their health, they may not get ill in the first place. That way you can help many more people.

This is called Prevention.

Behaviour Change, Health Education and Healthy Public Policy are some of the ways we try to improve health and prevent ill health developing.