We believe that prevention is better than cure. Prevention is about helping people to stay healthy, happy and independent for as long as possible. Decisions we take every day can help us improve our health, these can be small choices such as choosing a low sugar drink or larger choices such as not smoking. Making healthy choices is not always easy or obvious but we aim to support people to make the choice easier.

Not all health conditions can be prevented but many can through making healthy choices in our day to day lives. The decisions we take can impact on our health but also those around us, especially our families and friends.  Not smoking, eating a good diet, being physically active, reducing our alcohol intake, not taking illegal drugs and taking care of our mental health will all reduce our chances of becoming unwell.

The following services and guidance is available to help you make healthy choices:

Healthy Lifestyles Service (HLS) Gloucestershire

The HLS team provide free healthy lifestyle behavioural support coaching around giving up smoking, drinking less alcohol, increasing physical activity and losing weight for anyone over 18 (or over 12 for smoking support) or is registered with a GP in Gloucestershire.

Physical activity

Being physically active can help you protect your health and avoid many possible problems in the future, from type 2 diabetes and heart disease to depression.  People in Gloucestershire get active not only to improve their health, but because they like being active with others too.  It is social, makes you feel like you are achieving something together and helps others in your group stay active.

Across the county, children, teenagers, adults, and older adults are all setting up their own activities with others, to suit their own pace and what they enjoy.  Visit We Can Move to find out how to get active.

Healthy workplaces

The Healthy Workplaces Gloucestershire Award recognises local employers for the work they do to support their employees’ health and well-being. The award is free and open to all organisations in Gloucestershire.

The accreditation scheme has two award levels so organisations can be rewarded for progress; Foundation Award and Enhanced Award. Find out more and register on www.hwglos.org.

Sometimes getting ill is unavoidable and some diseases can’t be prevented. We want to support people to develop the knowledge, skills, confidence and support to take control of their health and wellbeing. Whilst many long term conditions cannot be cured, it is possible to live well with them. The real expert in your health is you, so we need to equip you to self-manage your condition in a way that works for you.

  • find out more about your condition
  • learn new skills and tools to help you manage your health
  • work better, and in partnership, with your healthcare team
  • take charge of your healthcare and choose what is right for you
  • get support from other people in a similar situation to you

A good starting point for self-management is to learn more about your condition. The NHS website has information about a wide range of conditions and any associated treatment. Find yours here.

If you have either Diabetes, or problems relating to your heart or lungs, you can sign up to one of our local education programmes in Gloucestershire (see here for more info).

Once you have a good understanding of your condition, it’s really helpful to make a plan. You are better placed than anyone to understand what will work in your life – we’re all different. The local Live Better to Feel Better programme can support you in how to approach your plan, what to consider and how to identify practical achievable next steps. The Recovery college provides similar support around mental health conditions, providing courses and educational workshops that teach people to become experts in their own recovery. Both programmes are jointly-led by people with long term conditions who understand the challenges you face from their own personal experience.

There are lots of apps and websites available for free which can support you with your next steps. These cover a range of issues including getting active, managing your mood and getting better sleep. A good place to start is the NHS app library, which has links to useful apps and online tools which have been assessed against a range of NHS standards.

Do also consider your psychological health, which is key to living well (with or without a long term condition). The NHS has useful information to get you started here and the NHS apps library may also provide some practical tools. There’s more about local NHS support here.

Connecting with others and getting involved in the community can support you stay well. There are a range of local activities, groups and educational opportunities in Gloucestershire. The Your Circle directory may be useful in helping you to find support.