SALT LAKE CITY, Utah(News4Utah) This week is National Public Health Week. To explain what that is, and how you can raise awareness for public health issues, Gary Edwards, the Executive Director of the Salt Lake County Health Department, joined Emily Clark this morning on GMU.
Edwards says everyone deserves to live a long and healthy life in a safe environment. To make this happen, he says we must tackle the causes of poor health and disease risk among individuals and within our communities. Where we live, work, worship and play impacts each of use and can determine our health and how long we live. Within our communities, Edwards asks us to start new conversations with our neighbors and be advocates for positive change. Working together, we can build healthier communities and, eventually, the healthiest nation.
During each day of National Public Health Week, the Health Department will focus on one public health topic. They believe these topic areas are critical to our future success in creating the healthiest nation.
Monday, April 2: Behavioral Health
Focus on and advocate for improved access to mental and behavioral health services. Use education and training to de-stigmatize mental health diagnoses and encourage people experiencing mental illness to seek treatment. Edwards say coverage for mental health services must be on par with physical health services in all health insurance coverage.
Tuesday, April 3: Communicable Diseases
Learn about ways to prevent disease transmission. Wash your hands. Know your HIV status. Call on employers to support and provide sick leave so sick workers can care for themselves and avoid spreading disease to others. Support comprehensive sexual health education in schools, which can reduce rates of sexually transmitted disease (as well as teen pregnancy). Keep yourself and your families immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases – and get your flu shot!
Wednesday, April 4: Environmental Health
Help to protect and maintain a healthy planet. Reduce our collective carbon emissions footprint. Transition to renewable energies. Protect our natural resources and use evidence-based policy to protect our air, water and food. Support environmental health efforts that monitor our communities for risks and develop health-promoting interventions. Call for transportation planning that promotes walking, biking and public transit; it not only reduces climate-related emissions, but helps us all stay physically active.
Thursday, April 5: Injury and Violence Prevention
Learn about the effects of injury and violence on health. Increase funding to programs that reduce and prevent community violence. Advocate for occupational health and safety standards that keep workers safe on the job. Support policies that save those struggling with addiction from a fatal drug overdose. Many injuries are preventable with the appropriate education, policy and safety measures.
Friday, April 6: Ensuring the Right to Health
Advocate for everyone’s right to a healthy life. Everyone deserves an opportunity to live a life free from preventable disease and disability. The places where we live, learn, work, worship and play should promote our health, not threaten it. That’s why creating the healthiest nation requires a dogged focus on achieving health equity for all.
Join the Health Department in observing NPHW 2018, and become part of a growing movement to create the healthiest nation in one generation. During the week, they will celebrate the power of prevention, advocate for healthy and fair policies, share strategies for successful partnerships and champion the role of a strong public health system.
For more information, visit SLCO.org/Health.