Public health workers are dedicated to promoting and protecting the health of all people in all communities. Revised in September of 2020 by the Public Health National Center for Innovation and the du Beaumont Foundation, the 10 Essential Services of Public Health are key components for any public health service to promote equity for all. They actively promote policies, systems, and overall community conditions for optimal health and seek to remove systemic and structural barriers such as racism, poverty, gender discrimination, ableism, and other forms of oppression. When considering public health work, our minds often think of programs and agencies dedicated to physical health. However, mental and emotional wellbeing is just as important as physical wellbeing to overall community health. Healthy minds are crucial to building and maintaining healthy communities.
The term “community” is broad. What does it mean to have a community? It can be concrete like the borders of your town, or more descriptive as in a group of friends or colleagues. Community, in my opinion, is nothing more than the bonds that connect you with the people around you. But mental illness can throw a wrench into this idea of community and break these bonds. Individuals struggling with mental illness often find themselves feeling alienated and isolated from peers. It can also lead a person to feel anger, sadness, fear, and hopelessness. Struggling with mental illness yourself or seeing someone you love suffering can create a ripple effect that dissolves sense of community.
But we do not need to allow mental illness to take a choke hold on our relationships. There are ways we can combat the effects poor mental health may have on our relationships with each other. Some ways we can do this are:
Stay in touch and check in on those around you
Be open about personal experiences
Practice and encourage others to use kind and supportive language
Educate yourself about mental health
Volunteer or take part in events near you aimed at mental health support
It is also important to keep track of your own mental health! Taking time out of your day and being honest with yourself are key to accurately assessing your mental wellbeing. Some important questions to ask when monitoring your own mental wellness are:
How has my average mood been?
What has my daily level of stress and anxiety been? Have I been managing it in a productive and healthy way?
How am I functioning in work, school, and with social and family relationships?
Has there been any changes in my mental state recently? (ie. concentration, memory, etc.)
By keeping yourself healthy and looking out for others around you, your community will be healthier, stronger, and safer for everyone.
NAMI KDK is dedicated to maintaining these bonds of fellowship and community. Offering programs and services rooted in public health practice, we strive to assist those suffering from the effects of mental illness through creating a sense of community. Mental illness can affect anyone. Thus, we are dedicated to being an accessible support network for all. NAMI KDK is here to help promote and protect the mental wellbeing of all people in the South Kane, DeKalb, and Kendall counties. Always remember, you are never alone.
For information on NAMI KDK, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.