Health psychologists are specially trained to help people deal with the psychological and emotional aspects of health and illness, along with promoting healthier lifestyles.
Many of the current health challenges we face need to be addressed by illness prevention, health promotion and anticipatory care. Therefore, not only do we need to work to understand and support people with the psychological difficulties they may face from having physical health conditions, but we also need to understand and ameliorate the impact of lifestyle on health.
Most chronic diseases, including cancer, CHD, and diabetes, are related in part to health behaviour. Improving health behaviour is therefore a key challenge. Health psychologists are specialists in health behaviour change and working with people who have physical health conditions to help them cope and adjust to illnesses and treatments.
A health psychology approach adds value to programmes designed to improve health, improves our understanding of the complexities of barriers to change, and can more effectively design and implement evidence-based interventions to change health behaviour, targeting individuals, social groups and communities.