Health. It’s something that most people are mindful of and we all try our best to make good decisions in life, but have you ever stopped to wonder what role outside forces play in your health? In other words, how does the community in which you live affect your health? And with that said, what is the role of the community in maintaining the health of all?
It’s a deep question that people don’t tend to give much thought to until there is a concrete reason. The past year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly caused people to look outside of their behavior and start to examine how the community plays a role in their well-being. It’s not just about making your own choices for your body and health – your choices can also affect others.
Let’s peel back the layers and take a deeper look at what the role of community is in maintaining health.
Keeping the Community Healthy Keeps Individuals Healthy
At its very core, the idea of focusing on a specific community allows health professionals to ensure that the community is kept healthy. Infectious diseases and illnesses can spread quickly through a community without mitigation and education for the public. These can be common illnesses, seasonal illnesses or even those that occur after a natural disaster. Should any of these be allowed to get out of hand and run rampant, the very health of the community is at stake.
It Creates a Sense of Togetherness
Focusing on community health also forces people to look outside of themselves and focus on others. Although you can be concerned about your well-being, you also understand that health is a collective goal and responsibility. You aren’t walled off from others, so your actions affect everyone.
That sense of togetherness is what can define a community and help bring it together. It can create a more harmonious place to live and work and leave people feeling more fulfilled. There is a lot of joy to be found in caring about others – even strangers.
Technology Makes Health Information More Accessible
To make information and assistance more accessible, look no further than technology as a great example. Technology has proven to be useful across pretty much every field in the past decade or so, and healthcare is no different. For those who don’t have a family doctor or health insurance, or who feel embarrassed about their health question and just need a little guidance and help, technology can help fill those needs.
You can look at sites like Askiris for just this kind of assistance. Whether you’re using health tracking tools, websites filled with up-to-date medical information and trends, or even booking a virtual appointment with a doctor, all of these make medical information and tools more accessible to the general public and the community as a whole. When access is increased, everyone benefits.
Without Community Health, You Risk a Lot of Negatives
Did you know that when community health fails to be an issue, the very community is at risk of some very serious issues – not just illness-related? When community health isn’t respected or made a priority, it is common to find there are safety and even crime issues that start to pop up. This can make for a stressful and scary environment to be in and will chip away at community health as a whole.
Perhaps the community hasn’t emphasized the need for healthy living, which can lead to illnesses and health issues such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, chronic disease and more. This will then stretch the healthcare resources thin, which can leave some people going without proper or adequate care, all because community health wasn’t made a priority.
There’s also the fact that if community health isn’t seen as important, it can affect the lifespan of citizens. You may suddenly find yourself living in a region where the average lifespan is much lower than other parts of the state or country. It’s hard to believe that your address could have this effect on your health, but it can.
What’s Needed to Promote and Improve Community Health?
So, what is needed to promote and improve community health? Several criteria should be included, such as:
- Making sure all residents have access to quality and affordable healthcare services
- Identifying, tracking and monitoring any pressing health concerns
- Acting on health concerns promptly
- Working in conjunction with neighboring Public Health
- Making sure there is a robust education system regarding healthy lifestyle choices
This is just a small list of what’s required to achieve excellent community health. The fact is that it’s an ongoing battle.
For a community to be its healthiest self, it truly takes participation from all and ongoing efforts to strive for better.