It might be easy to make the health of other people in your community someone else’s problem. But, if nothing else, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has shown us that public health is everybody’s concern. That’s why we’re celebrating National Public Health Week and shining a light on the health issues that affect everyone’s community in some shape or form.
Every year, National Public Health Week is used to shine a light on the major health issues that impact our lives. Throughout the week, each day is dedicated to a specific cause, why that cause is important, and how people just like you can get involved to make a difference. Here are the theme days we’re celebrating this year:
Monday: Mental Health
Who this day is for: the 1 in 5 Americans who are affected by mental illness and the millions of other Americans who are impacted by those with a mental illness.
Why it matters: People experiencing mental illness are at a greater risk of early death. Moreover, a recent study conducted by the World Economic Forum and quoted by the World Health Organization, noted that the global impact of mental illness would amount to $16 trillion over the next 20 years.
How you can get involved: You can be an advocate for those dealing with mental illness and their loved ones. Mental illness still carries a stigma, and those who are suffering deserve and need support from their community in order to seek — or have access to — necessary treatment.
Tuesday: Maternal and Child Health
Who this day is for: the 25% of women in the United States who do not receive the appropriate number of prenatal appointments with a health provider.
Why it matters: In the United States, 31% of pregnant women will suffer pregnancy complications.
How you can get involved: Advocate to close the gap for black expecting mothers, 32% of whom do not receive the appropriate prenatal appointments with healthcare providers.
Wednesday: Violence Prevention
Who this day is for: the nearly 40,000 people who die from gun-related deaths and the millions of Americans who’ve faced some form of domestic violence.
Why it matters: Violence is among the leading causes of premature death in America.
How you can get involved: Advocate for community-driven solutions to gun-violence prevention, child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault.
Thursday: Environmental Health
Who this day is for: the 1.6 million Americans who still do not have basic plumbing and everyone who is directly affected by environmental contamination.
Why it matters: We should all be able to drink clean water, breathe clean air, and eat safe food, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, or ethnicity.
How you can get involved: Do your part to recycle and not pollute your community whenever possible. This can be as simple as recycling or simply being more efficient with your energy usage.
Who this day is for: the 21% of American children who live in poverty and are less likely to graduate from high school on time.
Why it matters: Graduation from high school is linked to an increased lifespan for up to nine years and is also linked to better health and lower lifetime medical costs.
How you can get involved: Advocate for a stronger educational system and support teachers and educational professionals. Talk to members of your community about the importance of finishing high school.
Saturday: Healthy Housing
Who this day is for: the millions of Americans living in what can be classified as substandard housing.
Why it matters: The places we live are integrally connected to our health and well-being.
How you can get involved: Advocate for stricter rules surrounding safe and affordable housing for everyone. Encourage neighbors to understand the hazards that may exist in housing developments.
Sunday: Economic Wellness
What this day is for: the 6.8 million children living in deep poverty and anyone who is dealing with financial stress.
Why it matters: Low-income families have, historically, had higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other chronic conditions.
How you can get involved: Encourage the creation of healthy work environments that provide paid sick leave and support your neighbors who may be dealing with a financial crisis.
To learn more about National Public Health Week and how you can get involved in promoting good health in your community, visit nphw.org.