Making Every Contact Count (MECC)

Published October 16, 2018 at 18:28

Making Every Contact Count is an approach to behaviour change that utilises the millions of day to day interactions that organisations and people have with other people to support them in making positive changes to their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

MECC enables the opportunistic delivery of consistent and concise healthy lifestyle information and enables individuals to engage in conversations about their health at scale across organisations and populations.

Why do we Practice Nurses need to Make Every Contact Count – Strategic Context

In England to many of the causes of premature death as well as chronic and acute disease are preventable. Around 40% of the UK’s disability adjusted life years lost are attributable to tobacco, hypertension, alcohol, being overweight or being physically inactive

Smoking is still the biggest preventable killer, however physical inactivity is quickly closing in. The risky behaviours of smoking, alcohol, diet and lack of physical activity are not isolated with around a quarter of people having three risk factors

Applying the MECC Approach with ‘All Our Health’

A MECC conversation is unpinned by a Very Brief Intervention (VBI). A very brief intervention can take from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes. It is mainly about giving people information, or directing them where to go for further help. It may also include other activities such as raising awareness of risks, or providing encouragement and support for change. It follows an ‘ask, advise, assist’ structure.

For example, very brief advice on smoking would involve recording the person’s smoking status and advising them that stop smoking services offer effective help to quit. Then, depending on the person’s response, they may be directed to these services for additional support.

For any change in behaviour to occur, a person must:

  • Be physically and psychologically capable of performing the necessary actions.
  • Have the physical and social People may face barriers to change because of their income, ethnicity, social position or other factors. For example, it is more difficult to have a healthy diet in an area with many fast food outlets, no shops selling fresh food and with poor public transport links if you do not have a car.
  • Be more motivated to adopt the new, rather than the old behaviour, whenever necessary.

This is known as the COM-B model (Michie et al. 2011d).


Access to MECC e-learning

E-learning for Health have two different MECC e-learning courses (One developed by Wessex, Thames Valley and KSS and another developed by West Midlands) these are available on their e-learning platform.

Wessex, Thames Valley, Kent, Surrey and Sussex e-learning

This resource, composed of four e-learning sessions, is intended for anyone who has contact with people to Make Every Contact Count and develop public health knowledge.

The package is part of a two-phase learning approach. The e-learning has been developed to ensure learners gain the underpinning knowledge and understanding of the importance of supporting people to improve their health and wellbeing and introduction to the practical skills to do so.

West Midlands

This resource is composed of two e-learning sessions with additional resources around “MECC Plus for Integrated Care”. The focus is to give users the confidence to start a very brief conversation which will help the person involved to consider change, feel encouraged and supported to change, and know where to go for further support if they feel ready to change.

For further information on what is available in your area please contact Chris Sharp, Public Health Workforce Development Manager for the Y&H Public Health England Centre on email: