More of us than not can and should be thankful for our health. To not suffer from a physical or psychological ailment should be appreciated and not taken for granted. Of course, there are many who could still know someone who suffers from a health condition, be it a friend, family member or acquaintance. The purpose of National Public Health Week is to raise awareness for the public about significant issues which are currently in the public eye.
Goals for 2015
This year, the event will be taking place nationwide from Monday April 6 to Sunday April 12. The week was first recognized in 1995 and has since widely grown in recognition over the years. The main organization behind the event is the American Public Health Association, or APHA, which has an effect on federal policy regarding mental health. Professionals from all areas of the field are involved with APHA.
Usually, a new theme is created for National Public Health Week annually. This year, the theme will be “Healthiest Nation 2030.” Another focus of the event this year is the American healthcare system, particularly how we spend more for ours than other nations. Ironically, Americans of all ages and economic standing live shorter lives. U.S. citizens are also more prone to a number of health complications, including heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The goal is to change this by 2030.
Southern California awareness
Locally, National Public Health Week will be celebrated in Orange County at the Public Health Training Center in Santa Ana. A photo contest has been held to determine how public health has changed and shaped life locally. Of course, the goal is to further advancements in the healthcare industry for an even brighter future. Yet this year, APHA is also taking the time to highlight the progress that has already been made in public health in years past.
Past health care achievements
For example, during the 20th century, the mortality rate for mothers and babies has decreased. In terms of disease prevention, the number of people who are vaccinated nationwide is as high as it has ever been. Fatal car accidents have greatly been lowered throughout the country. Family planning has also become more feasible due to proper use of contraception. Many have improved their health by increased awareness of the dangers of smoking; while far fewer have died from strokes or heart attacks.
Healthcare in the future
However, there are other dangers for health nationwide that continue to present problems. Another focus of the APHA is how many American lives are lost due to alcohol and drug abuse. This is the case even when alcohol-related driving fatalities are excluded. In fact, drug related overdoses now outnumber deaths from automobile accidents. This demonstrates just how critical awareness of the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse persist. Achieving the goal the organization has set for the next 15 years will certainly mean furthering public education about the significance of drug abuse prevention.
Another focus this year is the disparity in mental health care by zip code in the country. Efforts will be made to offer a higher standard of healthcare for the individual states and counties that are struggling. APHA has also mentioned recent improvements that have been made regarding smoking prevention. For instance, the nationwide drug store CVS no longer sells cigarettes and instead focuses on increasing awareness prevention. Also, a number of companies that sell food and drink have greatly reduced menu items’ calorie count or portion sizes. This is a step in the right direction in assisting the public with eating healthier and promoting wellness.
With the rising recognition this event has received in the past 20 years, the health of the American public has only been enriched. Yet there is still a long way to go, as evidenced by the long term goals put forth this year. Each of us can do our part by actively seeking out how National Public Health Week is being celebrated our communities. Any step forward in public health effects not only physical health, but mental health as well. Sovereign Health Group supports events like these because a healthy body can make for a healthy mind. Together, everyone can combine efforts to help make “Healthiest Nation 2030” a reality for the future.
If you or a loved one ever needs help with either a mental health or drug related issue, please do not hesitate to call us at (866) 819-0427.
Contributed by Sovereign Health Writer, Ryan McMaster