Whilst recently there has been much discussion of the price of alcohol, as well as the possible benefits or problems of the extension in pub opening hours, there has been little debate about how we might support others who have drunk too heavily on a night out. Now the British Red Cross has suggested that children should be taught first aid skills, so that they know how to assist friends who have become dangerously drunk.
In the new “Big Society” we will all need to take responsibility for our own health and wellbeing. We have the freedom to go out and have fun, but also the responsibility for looking after ourselves and to know how to act in an emergency. Over the years we have become far too reliant on the NHS, expecting someone else to fix our problems, regardless of our lifestyle. Now we need to learn once again to be more self-sufficient, to look after both ourselves and our friends and neighbours.
For us to take on these responsibilities will require a greater degree of health education for the general populace, and what better place to begin this than at school? The British Red Cross have recently launched the Life. Live it. campaign, encouraging 11-16 year olds to learn life-saving skills, to better understand what to do in an emergency. Although First Aid has been part of the school curriculum since 2008, a recent British Red Cross survey of 2,500 11 to 16-year-olds, found that only 5% of those surveyed had received first aid training at school.
Here at 2020health.org we support the public health agenda, together with the Big Society ideas of responsibility and self-sufficiency. We need to understand how to look after ourselves when we are injured, as well as how to live well to prevent future health problems. We should be teaching (and learning) not just first aid, but also a more general understanding of self-care – how to look after ourselves to live healthily and happily for longer.