National Public Health Week 2022
Each day of NPHW focuses on a single public health topic that is crucial to moving forward and creating the healthiest nation and the state. Check out the Daily Fact Sheets below that were created by the American Public Health Association.
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott issued a proclamation that April 4 - 10, 2022, was National Public Health Week in Vermont.
Each day a new fact sheet will be added so make sure to come back and visit!
Monday: Racism: A Public Health Crisis
Tuesday: Public Health Workforce: Essential to our Future
Wednesday: Community: Collaboration and Resilience
Thursday: World Health Day: Health is a Human Right
Friday: Accessibility: Closing the Health Equity Gap
Saturday: Climate Change: Taking Action for Equity
Sunday: Mental Wellness: Redefining the Meaning of Mental Health
by American Indian/Alaska Native, Caucasian and Black populations. For all racial groups, except American Indian/Alaska Native, women are more likely than men to receive mental health services.
Advocacy for mental health is crucial, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. We need to ask Congress to make mental health services readily available during the current and future public health emergencies. Get involved in Project 2025 — an initiative to reduce the annual rate of suicide. Learn about suicide prevention and intervention by joining the National Alliance on Mental Illness or APHA’s Mental Health Section. And if you or someone you know is in need of mental health service, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s national helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.
The COVID-19 pandemic can affect mental health in many ways, including through loss of a loved one, isolation due to physical distancing mandates, exposure to the virus and loss of income. Given the past year’s strain, it’s not surprising that health care workers have a high risk of developing mental illness. Strategies like being physically active, getting a full night’s sleep, eating a well-balanced diet, practicing gratitude, participating in activities you enjoy, developing coping skills, meditating and connecting with others can improve mental health. People who engage in physical activity have fewer days of poor mental health than people who do not exercise. Talking to a licensed therapist, joining a support group or 12-step program or considering medication under the supervision of a physician can all be beneficial.
Where you are.
There is no single cause for mental illness, and certain childhood risk factors, including growing up in poverty or experiencing abuse, can be an indicator for mental illness later in life. Genetics, isolation and use of alcohol or drugs are other contributing factors as well. Unaddressed mental health challenges can have an impact on employment, housing stability, safety and a range of other issues. This underscores the urgency of access to better treatment and coping options for those most at risk. Prevention, early detection and treatment of mental health conditions can lead to improved physical and community health. Public health can incorporate mental and emotional health development and promotion into prevention strategies and activities. This can make health promotion more effective and protect people from other issues that have lasting physical and mental health impacts, such as community and interpersonal violence, tobacco use and homelessness.
Drought causes more frequent and intense wildfires, whose smoke further reduces air quality. Flooding from intense storms leads to property and infrastructure damage, mold growth, food scarcity and water contamination. Flooding can cause injury and death due to trauma and drowning and increase stress and anxiety that adversely affect mental health and wellness. If we don’t move forward with solutions that address the severity of this crisis, these impacts will only get worse, and they will cause disproportionate harm to the most vulnerable among us. Certain populations — such as children, older adults, people living with disabilities and chronic illnesses, communities of color, the unsheltered and outdoor workers — are disproportionately affected by climate pollution and climate change, whether because they are inherently more vulnerable or because their resilience has been hampered by a history of disinvestment and systemic racism.
While climate change hurts everyone, people of color and those with lower incomes experience greater health harms than white and wealthy people, despite being less responsible for the problem. To address social inequities and improve our health, we need to strengthen partnerships with communities most impacted by climate change, support community-directed solutions and improve access to health care.
Share your story to be a climate communicator because personal stories from trusted sources make the health effects of climate change relatable. Urge lawmakers to help public health and medical communities prepare for and respond to health threats caused by climate change. Advocate for policies that support a just transition to a low-carbon economy. Support your local health departments in their efforts to advance health equity and climate resilience.
Building strong communities makes them more resilient. Communities with greater cohesion have better health outcomes after climate-related disasters. Addressing climate change alongside other inequities, like racial injustice, helps improve the health of communities. If we can keep global warming increases below 2 degrees Celsius, we can dramatically improve the health of children born today, for their entire lives. And we know taking action to reduce and halt climate change today will result in fewer disease outbreaks and better mental health worldwide.
Where you are.
Structural racism has pushed lower-income communities and many people of color to areas that have fewer resources and more climate vulnerability, such as flood zones and urban heat islands. Race is the number one indicator for the placement of toxic facilities in this country, making air pollution an issue where low-income communities and people of color receive a disproportionate share of toxic air releases. People in impacted communities who are living with disabilities are at an even greater risk, as they often have limited access to health care services and emergency information and have historically high rates of illness, injuries or death from climate change events. That’s why we must address this global problem by investing in local solutions that meet the needs of front-line communities and address the disproportionate burdens they shoulder. Impacted communities need to be the drivers of climate policy and be meaningfully involved in decision-making. Public health leaders must work with communities to ensure the best science and policies that address climate injustice are in every conversation about climate change solutions.