For an entire week just before Tax Day, the nation will focus on public health awareness from April 6th through 12th. National Public Health Week has been happening consistently for 25 years, and no one is slowing down. In fact, partners are moving forward—a billion steps forward!
Daily Themes for National Public Health Week
This celebration of health and awareness is also a celebration of progress. A lot has happened in the quarter-century since the first National Public Health Week, and we can celebrate the progress while drawing attention to the changes that still need to be made by focusing on a different theme of public health each day of the week.
Monday: Mental Health
Just 25 years ago, mental health was viewed very differently than today. Even five years ago, there was less acceptance of people diagnosed and struggling with mental disorders and mental health. On April 6th, make sure to share a victory for mental health from the last 25 years. Draw on your own experiences and make your own observations about work that still needs to be done.
Tuesday: Maternal and Child Health
Maternal health does not end with the six-week post-partum appointment and child health does not end at eighteen. The health of mothers and children affects the rest of a child’s life. It affects mortality rates and mental health. It doesn’t just include pregnancy, childbirth, and child well-visits. It includes maternity leave and more. On April 7th, compare the needs of women and children today with those of 25 years ago. Have the needs changed? Has the care? Make sure to include victories to celebrate.
Wednesday: Violence Prevention
How violent is your city, your state, your neighborhood? How violent is the school your children attend? Violence has become a part of life that we’d rather not look at but we accept. On April 8th, make those around you aware of the violence around them. Whether it’s on the news or on the streets, focus today at what’s improved and what needs to.
Thursday: Environmental Health
Many wouldn’t consider the health of the planet a public health concern, but it is. Environmental health plays a key factor in air quality and water quality—not just in “third-world” countries, but in developed nations. To find information about environmental factors that affect your health, look at news from the Environmental Protection Association (EPA). On April 9th, share information about your current environment compared to 25 years ago. Are there more homes, more roads, less trees, more people?
During a week dedicated to educating others about public health, it is only fitting that a key factor that contributes to health is included. Quality education and equal opportunities for quality education play a huge part in a better quality of life, better jobs, more money, more benefits (including medical insurance), etc. On April 10th, reflect on the changes made in the education system—changes for the better and more that can be done.
Saturday: Healthy Housing
Access to affordable and safe housing is essential to public health. Homelessness is often both the cause of and result of chronic medical conditions. Inadequate housing the even mere shelter can affect mental health as well as physical health, and every other factor that contributes to a healthy outlook. On April 11th, focus on the difference between extravagant housing versus safe, affordable, and sufficient housing.
Economic empowerment is not the same as economic advancement. It’s not taking previously unsuccessful folks and thrusting them into the place of other qualified applicants. Rather, it’s allowing them to enter the race. Economic empowerment is most often referring to women and people of color, but the goal of economic empowerment is to advocate for all people to have the same opportunities for economic success and health. On April 12th, take the opportunity to highlight some groups in your region who are marginalized due to race, religion, political or cultural group, age, gender, financial status, or something else altogether.