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Signposting in September

There are many opportunities for the pharmacy team to help raise awareness about a variety of health campaigns in September.

Know Your Numbers! Week: 4-10 September 2023

Falling annually in September, Know Your Numbers! Week is a campaign run by Blood Pressure UK to encourage all adults to get a blood pressure check. Across the UK, many organisations get involved by setting up pressure stations in public places, from hospitals to offices and supermarkets. 

This year is the 23rd anniversary of the campaign and the charity is marking the occasion by introducing a new theme: make the time, ease your pressure. 

“With the everyday pressures of life, we know that understanding why it’s important to know your blood pressure numbers and taking the time to get them measured isn’t always the priority,” says the charity. 

“Home monitoring is an effective and inexpensive way to keep blood pressure under control and the evidence behind it continues to get stronger. It offers a way to take control of your health, feel confident and take the pressure off the NHS at the same time.”

The charity has listed three main aims, which are:

  • Encourage the nation to use a simple and reliable blood pressure monitor to measure their blood pressure at home
  • Encourage individuals to take the necessary steps if their reading is considered high 
  • Raise awareness about the risks of high blood pressure. 

To get involved pharmacy staff can start by encouraging customers to invest in a home blood pressure monitor or make use of the pharmacy’s hypertension services if it has them. Posters and leaflets can also be displayed in the pharmacy to encourage conversations about the effects of high blood pressure. Visit: Blood Pressure UK for more information and to download resources.  

World Suicide Prevention Day

Each year, World Suicide Prevention Day falls on 10 September and aims to promote worldwide action against suicide. Across the globe, the day is an opportunity for organisations and communities to come together to raise awareness and open doors to conversations surrounding suicide and mental health.   

For the past two years, the theme, set by the International Association for Suicide Prevention, has been ‘Creating Hope Through Action’ and this continues for 2023. The goal is to encourage individuals to reflect on how they can support anyone in their life who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts. 

The Samaritans offer these top tips for anyone who wants to start up a conversation with someone they think may be struggling: 

  • Choose a good time and somewhere without distractions
  • Use open questions that need more than a yes/no answer. “How are things, I’ve noticed you don’t seem quite yourself?”
  • Listen well. “How’s that making you feel?”
  • Avoid giving your view of what’s wrong, or what they should do. 

In a broader sense, the charity also wants to remind people that the language we use matters and recommends following these do’s and don’ts: 

  • Don’t share or repost anything that talks about suicide or self-harm in an unsafe way online
  • Do report content you think may be harmful
  • Do post sources of support and share stories of hope and recovery 
  • Don’t mention the method or location of a suicide; there’s evidence that this can lead to further suicides
  • If worried about someone, do ask if they’re feeling suicidal and get them the support they need
  • Don’t use language that could come across as judgmental. For example, “don’t do anything stupid”
  • Don’t say committed suicide. “Committed” suggests suicide is illegal, which it isn’t
  • Do say took his/her/their own life or died by suicide.

For more information and to download resources that could be useful in the pharmacy. 

World Alzheimer’s Day: 21 September

Introduced in 1994, World Alzheimer’s Day, coinciding with World Alzheimer’s Month, falls on 21 September every year and is an opportunity for organisations to raise awareness about the condition and the impact more research could have on millions of people – and their families – across the world. 

For 2023, the theme is ‘Never too early, never too late’ and focuses on risk factors and reduction, highlighting their role in delaying or preventing the onset of dementia. Organisations will encourage early intervention, healthy lifestyle choices (such as stopping smoking or taking part in regular exercise) and regular monitoring of cognitive health. 

For more information on how the pharmacy can get involved, visit: the Alzheimer's Society. 

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