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24 June marks the start of Self-Care Month, which ends with Self-Care Day on 24 July. This symbolic day was chosen because self-care can be practiced “24 hours a day/7 days a week”.

Self-Care Month is an opportunity to:

  • raise additional awareness about self-care and self-care interventions
  • celebrate the benefits that they bring to people’s lives and what’s been achieved so far
  • call for renewed commitments and action to expand health systems to include self-care interventions

During the month, people around the world will be celebrating self-care practices and interventions and the difference they can make to everyone’s lives.

Below is information about what self-care is, why it is so important and how you can get involved.

What is self-care?

WHO defines self-care as individuals, families and communities’ promoting and maintaining their own health, preventing disease, and coping with illness and disability, with or without the support of a health worker.

I have heard about self-care interventions, what are they?

Self-care interventions are the evidence-based tools that support self-care. They include medicines, counselling, diagnostic kits, and digital technologies. Now is an exciting time with more and more tools being developed.

Why is self-care so important?

Self-care is about empowering people to be active agents in their own healthcare. Doing so not only puts people at the centre of their own healthcare, but also relieves pressures on health systems. Those pressures are growing and include:

  • 4.3 billion people with inadequate access to essential facility-based health services
  • an estimated global shortage of health workers of 10 million health workers, mainly in low-and-middle income countries
  • 1 in 5 of the world’s population living in humanitarian crises, during which health systems are particularly challenged to deliver essential services
  • pandemics, like COVID-19, armed conflicts and climate change also disrupting and stretching health services worldwide

Self-care interventions give people choice and the option to access healthcare wherever and whenever they want to.

Self-care interventions do not replace health systems, they enhance them. They are part of a holistic approach to healthcare which improves Primary Health Care and contributes to Universal Health Coverage.

How can I get involved?

There lots of things you can do:

  • learn more, visit WHO’s self-care health topic page
  • find out if there are any Self-Care Month activities going on where you live and take part or organize your own activities and invite others to join you
  • take time to think about how you can practice self-care each day to help improve your health and well-being.

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