Health and Well-being in the community


Welcome back to another blog post by unpaid carer Matthew Mckenzie. I am happy to have been able to write up some posts, despite being fairly busy. I want to put a thought in your head, I know in this society, we do not often have time to stop and reflect. Living in this fast paced life it is so important to stop and think ever now again.

The thought I want to put into your head is this. “Have you thought about where you live”? Is it in the city or suburbs? Maybe a village or town. Perhaps this is not even a deep thought when you step back and observe, but it does not end there. When you look around, what do you see? Are those around the area as busy as you are? Or perhaps do they seem to be more relaxed? Maybe they are letting the world go by.

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Now think about your health and wellbeing, are you lucky to have good health? It is not as easy as everyone thinks, because we are so busy, it is hard to find the time to eat well, exercise or even get a good nights sleep. We all know what happens if we cannot look after our health and wellbeing, but if you are curious then I will explain later.

Being Alive

If you are unfortunate enough not to had the time to stop and reflect then let me put another thought in your head. Do you know that you are alive? Seems weird doesn’t it. Of course you are alive otherwise you would not be reading this right now. Still, its amazing when you really think about it. Your heart is pumping blood around your body, you are able to see the words of the screen and now think about how you are breathing. Thats it!! you are reflecting on your health. It is one of philosophy’s ways of getting people to stop and think. Sometimes we are pressured into doing so much, that when the time has come, we begin to query where our life has gone. We are so focused in keeping up with the rat race (to mildly put it) that we have not stopped to marvel at our health.

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It does not end there though. So you realized you are alive, brilliant! but what about everyone else in your area or community? Are you wondering if they are thinking the same? About their health and wellbeing? Does it look like health and wellbeing is doing well in your area? Perhaps do to the town centre, what do you see? Does the area look healthy?

Being alive has its responsibilities

Being alive does have its responsibilities. We must try to be aware that every decision we take affects our health. To be a healthy person, you have to make healthy choices. Sometimes we have the information and power to follow up on those choices, but its not the same for everyone. Depending where you live, you might not get all the options to decide how healthy you will be. A community is only as healthy as much as it is supported to do so.

Still, because of community, we all have a part to play. If one person makes the choice for a healthy life, then others can learn and follow. Especially if they observe what we all have in common. Being part of a community means we have something in common, we often have to share things and express our identity. What one person does in the community usually affects the community some how. If the trend in the community focuses on healthy lifestyles then it will influence more in that community.

We all have some choice

Consider this though, choice is a powerful thing. Especially when it comes to our own health and wellbeing. Without the choice of our health, then the trade off can be immense. We could look into longevity, what causes the rates of decline in someones life or in society? Is it due to drinking causing a problem? Perhaps there is too many Junk food shops in the area causing health problems for those in the area? Maybe air pollution is so bad, that it is affecting the vulnerable and causing declining rates of health.

Some areas have some of the problems I have just mentioned, while other communities do not have these problems? Why is this? What made the difference? It cannot always be the situation of rich and poor. There must be something else that could be happening. We all have a choice into how our own health will be affected. We all have some choice about what happens to the community, but that choice is also a responsibility.

What happens if health and wellbeing is not at the center of community

It can happen to any community and usually does. It would not take long to find out case studies where health and wellbeing were not the focus of a community. As mentioned, decline rates of lifespan is a good example, if you curious its always possible to observe a community that is struggling with health. It is sad to see when people are unwell in streets, it is sad to see the community fragmenting away because they feel they have no choice about health. People living in such a community would then decide to leave the community, why stay?

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If health is not the focus of the community then it could lead to pressures at GP surgeries and hospitals as many people become unwell. More pressures on the health system can be a vicious circle as those discharged into the community cannot always get the support and end up back in hospital seeking treatment.

What happens when health and wellbeing works

It does not have to be that way. There are communities both rich and poor that do have health and wellbeing in mind. We have longer living standards. People making the right choices about their health and being well informed about those choices. You could travel to some areas and notice people looking after their health. Perhaps jogging in the park, playing outdoor sports both young and old.

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The community might be even supported to make health lifestyles by the institutions in that area. Does the GP practice reach out the the community and help in educating people about healthy choices? Are the commissioners making the right decisions and involving the community in those decisions? What about the council and Healthwatch? Are they making a difference? Maybe its the voluntary groups and charities setting the trend?

What are those who make the decisions, who influence the policies? The leaders and the drivers of health doing?  Are they responsible?

Who is responsible?

So who is responsible in providing a healthy community? Was it the organisations and bodies that I stated before? Without them, then it is hard to have health and wellbeing in the community, but not impossible. Sometimes we need to be active and be aware that choice is a powerful thing. We need to be aware that we are not alone and whatever we do, we affect the community in our actions and identity. It is also our responsibility for our health, but as a community we need to be supported. Those organisations cannot make decisions all by themselves, we need to be part of that it.  We need to be a part of that movement and set the trend.

How do those communities that have healthy outlook focus on health and wellbeing? What are those healthy communities doing right compared to communities that suffer from unhealthy lifestyles?

We have to take part

If you are part of the community, then you need to take part. We all want a community were regardless of gender, identity or race, we have long health lives. We all need to educate others on what makes us healthy and spread the knowledge into the community. We have to stop and reflect on our own health, which in turns challenges us to look after our health.

Being alive and health is wonderful, being allowed to make the choices of our health is powerful. Lets make this a healthy community