Wellness Wednesday: Health Flavour of the Month: December

University of Kent Occupational Health and Wellbeing Manager, Brenda Brunsdon

Every month there is a range of national health promotion campaigns in the UK. Here is a synopsis of the campaigns for December:

  • December begins on the same theme as November ended: The Campaign of 16 Days of Action Against Domestic Violence ends on 10 December. It is supported by Public Health England. The theme this year is ‘What is Emotional Abuse?’ Access the website above for information on the various topics within this area of abuse.
  • The message from Bowel Cancer UK is that December is the month to grow a beard to save lives. The theme of their campaign is Decembeard. It’s seems appropriate because this month sees the return of Santa Claus, who is, surely, one of the most famous beard wearers!
  • World Aids Day, 01 December: founded in 1988, World Aids Day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education. This year’s campaign is headed #RockTheRibbon and asking for support for the HIV community and for people to show this by becoming HIV Allies.
  • National Grief Awareness Week, 02-07 December: this week is promoted by the Good Grief Trust. Their aim is to normalise grief and get people talking. The theme for this year is about just that, feeling secure enough to talk about our feelings of loss for someone who has died and looking at the number of ways you can do this.
  • International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 02 December: marks the anniversary of the UN Convention on the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, passed in 1949. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) more than 40 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery. In addition, more than 150 million children are subject to child labour, accounting for almost one in ten children around the world.
  • International Day of People with Disabilities, 03 December: this year’s theme is ‘Fighting For Rights in the Post-Covid Era’. This day comes in the middle of Disability History Month, 18 November-18 December. It’s joint themes this year are Disability and Hidden Impairments and Disability, Sex and Relationships.
  • Christmas Jumper Day, 10 December: this fund-raising day is promoted by Save The Children. We’re encouraged to wear our Christmas Jumpers to work and school and give money to Save The Children as payment for the privilege. It’s a fun way to raise funds for underprivileged kids in the month that is really all about children.
  • International Migrants Day, 18 December: another United Nations initiative, marking the adoption of a convention in 1990 protecting the rights of migrant workers and their families. Given the tragedies we are seeing so close to home in Kent, with people dying in the Channel in search of a new home, it seems appropriate for this day to be significant. More information about refugees can be found on the National Today website. Did you know that ‘drop-in’ arrivals of refugees to Europe have decreased, that 40% of all refugees are children and that 68% of all refugees come from 5 countries: Venezuela, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sudan, and, with by far the largest proportion, Syria.
  • And finally, a reminder that Dry January starts on New Year’s Day 2021, as inevitably as New Year’s Eve follows Christmas! Alcohol Change UK encourages everyone to take a month off the booze after the excesses of the Festive Season

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