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P11 Exploring the acceptability of making every contact count (MECC) within the third and social economy (TSE): a reflexive thematic analysis
  1. Beth Nichol,
  2. Rob Wilson,
  3. Angela Rodrigues,
  4. Catherine Haighton
  1. 1Social Work, Education, and Community Wellbeing, Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
  2. 2Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
  3. 3Psychology, Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
  4. 4Social Work, Education, and Community Wellbeing, Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK


Background The Making Every Contact Count (MECC) initiative encourages brief, opportunistic advice around health and wellbeing. MECC aims to address health inequalities by providing a cost-effective approach to target health behaviours and their social determinants. However, there is currently minimal research on MECC within the Third and Social Economy (TSE) sector, despite increasing funding and training roll-out in this area. The TSE describes all not-for profit groups or organisations operating outside of the family or household, that individuals are free to join and is independent to the government. The aim of this qualitative interview study was to explore the acceptability of brief interventions such as Making Every Contact Count (MECC) to target health behaviours and their social determinants within the Third and Social Economy (TSE), through the perspectives of both service users and providers. The results aim to inform on the suitability and need for MECC training within these settings.

Methods 20 qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with both service users (n = 5) and providers (n = 15) from a range of TSE settings. Both service providers who had and had not received MECC training were included to explore whether MECC conversations already occur without training. Topic guides explored the acceptability of MECC and existing health and wellbeing conversations around diet, physical activity, smoking, alcohol, mental health, and the social determinants of health including employment, housing, and finance. Reflexive thematic analysis was applied via Nvivo to generate themes.

Results (ongoing analyses) TSE settings varied widely and included faith-based settings, charities, and youth clubs. Most service providers were highly skilled in a range of professions such as in teaching, medicine, and counselling. Many participants were able to cite conversations around health and its social determinants within the TSE, despite only four participants having received MECC training. Advanced interpersonal skills facilitated the formation of strong and trusting relationships with service users, although this could also mean service providers were hesitant to discuss health and wellbeing. Mental health and practical advice surrounding the social determinants of health were topics particularly accepted within the TSE.

Conclusion (tentative) Conversations around health and wellbeing occur naturally within these settings, without the need for specific training. Distinctively strong relationships are built with service users within the TSE. Service providers draw upon a breadth of previous experience to apply advanced interpersonal skills. However, having the resources to signpost to further services, ideally internally, is essential.

  • Making Every Contact Count
  • Public Health
  • Preventative Health

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