Or is it healthy communities build healthy people
In my experience healthy people is one aspect of community and business development often overlooked, leaving the problems and frustrations to the health professionals who are so overworked in smaller communities they become reactive, not proactive. The solution lies in having the business and non-profit organisations work together to solve both health and social problems as well as business problems experienced by both.
Chronic disease is one of the most significant health problems facing communities, indeed the world. Building healthy communities is a continuum including physical, mental and social wellbeing, not merely the absence of disease. Hence, participation in social and community life provides benefits important to an individual’s overall health, wellbeing and survival.
Yes, there is a lot of stress on businesses and non-profits in our regional, rural and remote communities. The question is, is it healthy people who build healthy businesses, or is it healthy businesses build healthy people? It is hoped community leaders will consider the health of their community and its people as an important way of helping the community to grow to prosper while meeting people’s aspirations.
Planning and building healthy people and communities
In planning and building healthy people and communities, you need to explore how the various community environments impact, either positively and negatively, the potential to contract chronic diseases such as:
- Asthma and various respiratory conditions
- Heart conditions
- Lung disease
- Various Cancers
- Arthritis and other muscular/skeletal diseases
- Mental illness, depression and the so-called “lifestyle diseases”.
Health problems plague every community and require constant attention over many years. Fortunately, however, many can be controlled and even prevented with reasonable health management programs. The compassionate actions of its members can measure the greatness of any community.
Reducing the impact of chronic disease
The best way to reduce the impact of these diseases is to manage a reduction in the risk factors through such things as:
- Encouraging medical check-ups with local health professionals
- Increasing awareness of health issues
- Identifying the problems early
- Improving the environment
- Improving mental health treatments
- Stress management
- Managing the drug problems in the community
- Reducing alcohol, tobacco and drug dependency
- Increasing physical activity
- Improving weight control
- Lowering blood pressure
- Being actively involved in the community
- Relieving boredom and giving people hope
- Providing emotional support
- Helping with culture and language problems
- Providing more recreational ideas and facilities
- Improving workplace health and safety.
You can resolve concerns about future difficulties with an ongoing support program and change the conversations in the community.
Where appropriate people should continue to receive regular check-ups for their health and their business to assist them on the road to recovery and ultimate success. Any program should be set up with a belief many problems and concerns can be resolved by taking corrective action quicker and seeking objectivity and perspective from external facilitators. The cure is always preferable to the disease.
Many people just take a quick fix and move on, not realising there is much more which can be done. Well, I have seen them return and the costs of the fix next time, and there is always the next time, is always far greater than the cost of maintaining a support program.
What should a support program consist of, for your community and in the businesses? Do you know what services will be required?
What can an ongoing support structure achieve?
- It can provide you with new knowledge and information as it becomes available
- Monitor the vital parts on a regular basis
- It is always better to have an external eye kept on business and health issues
- Have community members mentored or coached to greater achievement
- Help you with critical problem-solving and decision-making on issues
- Receive help with complaint resolution
- The more people learn about themselves the better they will feel and the faster you will achieve their business aspirations and the aspirations of the community.
Ongoing support will be important to avoid any slippage back to the old ways that caused the problems. Repairing any psychological damage people may have suffered should be an integral part of any recovery program.
Medication is something we all must take. Ensure the people have access to a support group. They tell me I have less risk of getting another bout of cancer than someone who hasn’t had any, simply because I have regular check-ups.
“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about”. Margaret Wheatley
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples”. Mother Teresa