Be Health Aware
Understanding our own health and how to access the care we need - our health literacy - is now more important than ever. Advances in modern medicine and knowledge about what care best suits each of us is flourishing, increasing the options we face.
Be Health Aware is a portal to evidence-based information and resources that act as a guide to the health care choices we need to make, whether in relation to a particular disease, treatment, service or policy.
The Consumers Health Forum has developed Be Health Aware as part of our advocacy of health literacy as a central element of consumer-centred health care. Evidence shows best health outcomes significantly rely on an informed and engaged patient and consumer.
Welcome to Be Health Aware - if you have ideas of resources to include on this page we would love to hear from you.
What is health literacy?
According to the Australian Commission of Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC), health literacy is about how people understand information about health and health care, and how they apply that information to their lives.
To learn more about health literacy visit the ACSQHC website.
COVID-19, the new coronavisus disease at the heart of the world-wide pandemic, is highly infectious and can potentially cause the death of many more people than are affected by influenza. People who are elderly, or who already have a compromised immune system or respiratory illness, are particularly at risk.
Most people who fall sick with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without special treatment, and any long-term effects of the disease are not yet undertstood.
Controlling the spread of the virus is the primary concern for health authorities becasue of the risks both to patients and to front-line medical staff
Medical scientists around the world are collaborating to investigate treatments and ways to control the disease.
As a part of the increased services by the Australian Government, Healthdirect Australia is delivering the new National Coronavirus Helpline (1800 020 080), a dedicated service scaled to meet the volume of calls and assess symptomatic callers.
Finding information online
- CHF encourages you to go online to use the Healthdirect website to find the health information you need. The website is regularly updated from government sources to provide timely and accurate consumer-friendly advice and information.
- The Healthdirect Symptom Checker is an online self-guided tool to help identify COVID-19 symptoms and give people advice on what they should do next, such as calling ahead before a visit to a GP or emergency department.
- The Service Finder lists COVID-19 respiratory centres and other services.
- The Healthdirect app includes all of the above in one place.
CHF emphasises that the Chief Medical Officer and Department of Health are monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak closely and new information is published as it comes to hand. CHF recommends this is the best and most current source of information about the new virus, and how it is being contained in Australia.
Asking the right questions and getting the right information from your healthcare providers is vital to gain a clear understanding of your own health.
Be your healthiest self by learning more about proper nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, physical and mental health.
Understand your rights as a healthcare consumer and what to do if these are not met.
Learn more about specific illnesses, medications and available supports.
Learn more about your medicines, medical devices, and where to go if you are having issues with them.
Do you need Private Health Insurance? With so many policies to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you? On 1 April 2019, private health insurance begins the most extensive changes in recent years. Learn more about how it works, compare policies and understand your options.
Learn more about Medicare, the scheme that gives Australian residents access to healthcare. You can access your Medicare account through myGov, a system that allows you to securely access multiple government services with one login.
Learn about healthcare concessions and which ones you may be eligible for.
Foster your own mental health and enjoy a general state of wellbeing, including the ability to cope with changes and challenges and live your life in a positive and meaningful way.
Healthdirect — mental health resources from the governement-funded healthcare information service
Head to Health — Australian Department of Health: apps, online programs, online forums, and phone services, and a range of digital information resources
Lifeline Australia — 24-hour telephone support for people in crisis and suicide prevention services
Beyond Blue — information and resources for Australians to acheive their best mental health
Black Dog Institute — medical research institute for the early detection, prevention and treatment of common mental health disorders - public resources including research studies, education programs, digital tools and apps and clinical services
Healthy Mind — an online Easy Read tool designed for people with Intellectual Disability (ID)
Services and resources to support people living with a disability and their carers.
Healthy Mind — an online Easy Read tool designed for people with Intellectual Disability (ID) from the Black Dog Institute
Carers are those who provide care and support to a family member or friend with a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness, an alcohol or other drug issue or who are frail aged. If you are a Carer, it is important that you also take care of your own health and wellbeing.
Whether you have a health enquiry or are looking for support during difficult times, there are many free hotlines that provide information, referrals and advice for a range of situations.
healthdirect 1800 022 222 — Non-urgent 24/7 health advice
Medicine line 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) — Information on prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines.
Cancer council 13 11 20 — Confidential information & support on cancer-related issues
Strokeline 1800 787 653 — Information and advice on stroke prevention, treatment and recovery
Lifeline 13 11 14 — 24/7 crisis support
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 — 24/7 support & advice from a trained mental health professional
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800 — 24/7 support for kids, teens & young adults
QLife 1800 184 527 — nonymous LGBTI peer support and referral
Working towards creating mutually beneficial partnerships among health care providers, patients and families.
Services that ensure quality health care for all people living within our culturally and linguistically diverse society.
National research and reports on a range of health issues of interest to consumers.
Always call 000 directly if you need to contact emergency Ambulance, Police or Fire services. The 000 emergency services line will call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) and connect you with an interpreter using a priority line 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
TIS National can help communications with: medical and health practitioners, pharmacists and emergency services. It provides interpreting services to people who do not speak English and to agencies and businesses that need to communicate with their non-English speaking clients. These services enable non-English speakers to independently access services and information in Australia.
TIS National can call on 3000 interpreters across Australia in more than 160 different languages. Non-English speakers can access immediate telephone interpreters through TIS National by calling 131 450.
Alternatively, if you contact an organisation directly it may organise an interpreter on your behalf.