Today we celebrate International Self-Care Day – an annual opportunity to highlight the benefits of self-care both for individuals and Australia’s healthcare systems.
Self-care in health is a comprehensive, evidence-based, and complementary component of good health, that includes the actions individuals can take to directly prevent, diagnose, monitor and treat disease, as well as other behaviours that help you maintain or improve your health and wellbeing.
To celebrate, Australia’s only peak self-care organisation for health, the Australian Self-Care Alliance (Alliance) is proud to launch the ‘Self-Care Charter’ – what consumers need to live well and create better health outcomes for themselves and their families.
Developed in collaboration with Lived Experience Australia, and an extensive consumer and patient advocate consultation, the Self-Care Charter sets out 10 principles that consumers would like to see govern the delivery of self-care policy and practice in Australia.
Knowlege through clear, understandable information to help me recognise health risks, encourage me to make changes and give me confidence
Access to self-care support that is right for me no matter who I am, where I live, where I have come from, how old I am or how much money I have.
Choices to make my own decisions about my wellbeing with health care providers to keep me as well as I can be
Opportunities to speak up for myself and to include others in discussions and decisions
A National Self-care Strategy
A National Self-care Strategy that ensures I have focused, responsive, accountable, and effective self-care.
Services Working Together
Services Working Together to keep me living as well as possible throughout my life
Low-Cost care that lessens the money I have to spend
Health Care Workers
Health Care Workers providing advice and support relevant to me and my values and using their training in self-care
E-Health Technologies that give me easy 24/7 access to reliable information
Research that gives me confidence that I will get the best care I need based on the latest evidence
Notably, 34 of Australia’s leading peak health bodies and patient organisations have endorsed the Self-Care Charter, acknowledging that self-care needs to be an accessible option for all Australians, no matter their health status, age or gender.
As Lived Experience Australia’s Chair and Director, Professor Sharon Lawn, explains;
“Greater self-care and empowerment in health requires a health and care environment that provides individuals with health information, resources, skills and support they needed to improve their health and well-being, and be an informed advocate for, and active participant in their own health.”
“The Self-Care Charter was developed to codify exactly what self-care resources, skills and supports consumers’ need to live well and create better health outcomes for themselves and their families.”
“If properly supported through targeted investments, self-care could be a game changer for public health, with benefits being shared by individuals, communities, and government.”