Reducing our risk of developing lifestyle related health conditions means taking responsibility for the choices we make and changing some everyday habits which may not be good for us.
Help from the NHS
The NHS website has a wealth of information to help you take control of your health and wellbeing, for example you can:
If you are unwell
If you have concerns about your health, see your GP.
If you need help now, but it's not an emergency, go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111.
In an emergency, call 999.
Health services in Essex
Essex County Council commissions a number of health services on behalf of Essex residents.
Find your local healthcare service
Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) provide healthcare services to Essex residents, depending on where you live. For some services you will need a referral from your GP, for others you can self-refer. Find your nearest healthcare service:
Community health, mental health and learning disability services
These services are provided by Essex Partnership University Trust (EPUT). For some services you will need a referral from your GP, for others you can self-refer.
To find out more go to Essex Partnership University Trust (EPUT).
You can also see our pages on mental health and learning disability.
Get your free health check
If you are aged between 40 and 74 and live in Essex, you may be eligible for a free health check from Anglian Community Enterprise (ACE). This check can help you reduce or manage your risk of developing long term health conditions such as heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, diabetes and some types of dementia.
Additional health checks for the over-65s
Once you reach the age of 65 you will be invited to additional checks and screening. These may include:
- cervical cancer screening
- breast cancer screening
- bowel cancer screening
- diabetic retinopathy
- abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
There is also a senior health check for those aged 75 to 84.
If you are over 65 and would like to find out more about what health checks are available to you, contact Anglian Community Enterprise (ACE).
Health and wellbeing for young people
Healthwatch Essex offers specific information, advice and guidance for young people on their website.
Provide delivers the Essex Sexual Health Service. They offer a free, confidential, non-judgemental service available to residents regardless of sex, age, ethnic origin and sexual orientation. You do not need a referral from a GP.
They offer the following services:
- testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STI's/STD's). (You can also book a test online and receive the results by text.)
- free condom supplies
- pregnancy tests
- all forms of contraception
- emergency contraception/morning after pill
- general sex advice, counselling and support
For more information, please visit the Essex Sexual Health Service website or call 0300 003 1212.
Diabetes Prevention Programme
If your GP has sent you a letter which confirms that you are at risk of Type 2 diabetes, you are able to register for the Diabetes Prevention Programme in Essex. Here you will receive tailored, personalised support to reduce your risk.
Anglian Community Enterprise (ACE) delivers free weight management services for adults and children in Essex (excluding Southend and Thurrock). They offer a range of support via:
- face to face
For more information, visit their website or call 0800 022 4524.
Alcohol and drugs
CHOICES is a free and confidential service to support anyone affected by drugs and alcohol, whatever their age or circumstances. They provide a range of services to individual and their families in Essex.
Visit the Open Road website or call them on 0844 499 1323.
For more information on alcohol and drugs, see our section on Alcohol and substance misuse.
Continence advisory services provide advice, information and support on incontinence, and on the treatment options available. They are run by your local health service, depending on where you live:
For more information on bladder incontinence or bowel incontinence, visit the NHS website.
You can also talk in confidence with an adviser at the Bladder and Bowel Foundation.
Looking after your mental health
5 Ways to Wellbeing is an Essex County Council campaign that highlights five steps that residents can follow to keep them well, both in body and mind.
You can watch the 5 Ways to Wellbeing video here, and find out where to go in your area to improve your overall mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Support for Armed Forces and veterans
Essex is signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant. This is a promise by the nation that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly.
To find out more about the Essex Armed Forces Community Covenant and support for armed forces and veterans, see our section for Armed Forces and veterans.
Want to make changes to your lifestyle?
Provide runs the Essex Lifestyle Support Service. They offer support and guidance to make healthy changes. They can help you:
- stop smoking
- improve your diet
- increase your exercise
- improve your self esteem
- manage long term health conditions
- signpost to appropriate help and support
To find out more about Essex Lifestyle Support Service, or to sign up, visit their website or call 0300 303 9988.
Want to get you and your family more active?
Active Essex is the sport and physical activity hub for Essex. Visit Active Essex for great ideas on everything from sports to walks, dancing to diving.
How to stay healthy in winter
From keeping your house warm, to protecting yourself from colds and flu, find out how to stay healthy in winter on the NHS website.
Help from your local council
Live Well is an online information hub run by your local councils. It offers advice and information designed to improve the health and wellbeing of all Essex residents. The website also provides information about local activities and where to go to get support in your area.