What are the benefits of MECC?
There are clearly identified benefits in using MECC approaches at every available opportunity:
- Implementing MECC can support organisations in meeting their core responsibilities towards their local population health and wellbeing and to meet obligations within the NHS standard contract.
- It can assist organisations in meeting responsibilities towards their workforces, for example by improving staff awareness of health and wellbeing issues; and in enhancing staff skills, confidence and motivation and potentially bring improvements to staff health and wellbeing.
- MECC activity can be incorporated as part of existing health improvement or workforce improvement initiatives, for example, when tackling access to healthier food options.
Community and local health economy benefits
- The benefits of MECC can include improving access to healthy lifestyles advice improvement in morbidity and mortality risk factors within a local population; and cost savings for organisations and the local health economy.
- It can also support health improvement activity within local communities, and provide an approach that reaches out to community members and groups. MECC can provide a lever to support communities in collaborating together.
- For staff, MECC means having the competence and confidence to deliver healthy lifestyle messages and the encouragement for people to change their behaviour and to signpost to local services that can support them to change.
- It provides a means of maximising the benefit from existing resources for improving population health. For example, it can include advice on low or no-cost activity, such as persuading parents to walk their children to school; or, as part of physical activity advice, encouraging increased use of existing community resources such as leisure centres and swimming pools.
- MECC can be effective in helping to tackle health inequalities and the impact of the wider determinants of health, through supporting individual behaviour change. For example, some local services are using the MECC plus approach to engage local populations in managing debt, action towards gaining employment or in tackling housing issues.
- The population level approach of MECC can also help address equity of access, by engaging those who will not have otherwise engaged in a ‘healthy conversation’ or considered accessing specialised local support services, such as for weight management
- For individuals, MECC means seeking support and taking action to improve their own lifestyle by eating well, maintaining a healthy weight, drinking alcohol sensibly, exercising regularly, not smoking and looking after their wellbeing and mental health.