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Merton Peer Educators

Merton Peer Educators are a group of 35 young people aged 16 to 30 who have been exploring how local health and wellbeing services can be promoted and improved to support young people in Merton.

We believe that looking after your health and wellbeing is essential!

Spot the fake health news in our interactive poster and watch our video for our health and wellbeing tips below.

Text-only versions are included underneath.

Spot the fake health news

Try out our interactive poster, click on the picture below!

Spot the fake health news (text only)

Busting Fake News with Merton Peer Educators

1. Vodka can be used as a hand sanitiser.

Vodka is NOT an effective hand sanitiser. Alcohol hand gel is a great way to disinfect your hands when you don’t have access to soap and water.
Click here for further info on how to maintain good hygiene practices. You’ll also find some fun resources to help support those who are aged 16 and under here.

2. Using drugs and alcohol can helpl health conditions in the long term

Using drugs and alcohol can make any mental health problems you struggle with worse in the long term, and even lead you to develop new mental health problems.
For information and support around substance use, visit Catch 22 (for those aged 11-24) or WDP (for those aged 18+).

3. Being sad is a sign of weakness

There are many reasons why people may struggle with their mental health including life circumstances and biological factors.
For advice and tips on improving your mental wellbeing visit GoodThinking. For mental health support in Merton, visit Off the Record (ages 11-25) who also have a confidential helpline, and Merton Uplift (18+). A great range of mental health apps are also offered by Kooth (all age ranges) and Stem4 (teenagers).

4. Eating carrots helps you see in the dark

Carrots contain a pigment called beta-carotene. In your body, this pigment gets converted into vitamin A which is important for eye health. Although eating carrots does not improve your eyesight in the dark, eating fruit and vegetables rich in vitamins is important for your health and wellbeing.
Find out more about why eating 5 fruit and/or veg a day is important here, as well as some top tips for healthy eating here

5. You cannot use antibiotics to treat COVID

As COVID-19 is a virus, antibiotics are ineffective as this type of medication is used to treat bacteria.
You’ll find helpful, reliable health advice from the NHS on how to look after yourself at home if you have COVID-19 here and treatments for COVID-19 here.

6. There are 9 cubes of sugar in a can of coke

Fizzy drinks, squashes and juice drinks can contain lots of added sugar and are often high in calories and low in nutrients. The added sugar in these drinks also means you are more likely to gain weight and be more susceptible to tooth decay.
The NHS has some helpful tips on drinks and your health. Healthier Food Swaps also has reliable information on how to cut down on your sugar intake. Download the NHS Food Scanner app to help you find healthier swaps for next time you shop.

7. mRNA vaccines alter our DNA

mRNA vaccines are not live viral vaccines and do not interfere with human DNA. mRNA vaccine technology has been rigorously tested for safety and has been used to protect people against other viruses.
You’ll find a video on what’s in the COVID-19 vaccines and how they work here, as well as information on how to get your COVID-19 vaccine here.

8. Regular exercise can help you live longer

Exercise can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.
Watch a video on how you can do the recommended 150 minutes of activity a week here. You’ll also find tips on how you can be active in Merton here and how to improve your overall wellbeing from OneYouMerton here.

9. The flu vaccine causes Scarlet fever

The flu vaccine does not cause Scarlet fever. Scarlet fever is caused by bacteria (‘Strep A’) through respiratory droplets or through direct contact. The flu vaccine can actually prevent you from becoming more unwell with Strep A. Find out more info from the UKHSA about Scarlet Fever here, and local info on the flu and how to get vaccinated here.

10. You can catch STIs from hugging someone or sitting on a toilet seat

You cannot get STIs from casual contact like hugging, holding hands, or toilet seats. You can only get an STI from contact with semen, vaginal fluids, blood, or skin-to-skin genital touching. Click here for local information on STIs and services for all age groups.
Catch 22 offers sexual health support for those aged 11-24. Getting it on also offers sexual health and relationship support to those aged 13-19 in Merton.

Merton Peer Educator Health and Wellbeing Tips Video

Merton Peer Educator Health and Wellbeing Tips Video Transcript

Peer Educator Video Transcript

We are the Merton peer educators.

Merton Peer Educators are a group of 35 young people aged 16 to 30 who have been exploring how local health and wellbeing services can be promoted and improved to support young people in Merton.

We believe that looking after your health and wellbeing is essential!

Here are our health and wellbeing tips…

  1. Be Active in a way that you enjoy. I make it a point to have daily medication sessions, which help me to rewind from my day and engage in different activities such as sports and just daily walks which keep me active and engaged.
  2. Familiarise yourself with support services available to you. Often when I feel stressed or worried I dig deeper into the topics and find out what is true and what isn’t true to calm me down, as well as finding out about services that can help me if needed.
  3. Tale to a trusted friend, family member or professional. If I feel overwhelmed or stressed about the events in my life, I go and talk to my very trusted friend who always listens to me and calms me down.
  4. Take time to do the little thing you enjoy. Some examples of this would be make a self care playlist, watch your favourite movie, cook a new dish and learn a new hobby or skill
  5. Write down your feelings in a journal. To look after my mental wellbeing I write down in a journal, this is because I feel uncomfortable speaking to others and sharing personal information. I also know that my journal will never be read by anyone else other than me.
  6. Get involved with a local community group. As a mum of a toddler, I like to go to toddler groups, as there’s one at the library and others around the area, and this helps me to interact with other people and helps with my mental health, having a young child.
  7. Pamper yourself at home or get dressed up for you! For example, doing a face mask or doing yourself a hot drink to enjoy whilst watching a film you love. Remember, self-care is so important when it comes to maintaining your mental health!
  8.  Keep your daily environment clean and tidy. Another thing you can do is keep your daily environment clean and tidy. For example, going out on weekly litter pick-ups with your friends and family. It is a good way to socialise and look after your environment.
  9. Have a go at meditation. Meditation can help you feel calm and relaxed which is good for your overall health and wellbeing. To have a go, you can join an online meditation group, download an app or borrow a book on meditation from the library.
  10. Make a ‘to do’ list to keep track of your daily achievement. A final activity that you can do is make a ‘to do’ list to keep track of your daily achievements. Every day or every week, at the start of the week or at the start of the day, you get a piece of paper and set your achievements that you have to complete in the week or in the day. This will make you feel more accomplished and much more better about yourself at the end of the week! 

For more health and wellbeing facts, tips and support visit: Mental wellbeing | Merton directories

To access Young Merton online, visit: Young Merton | Merton directories

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