5 ways to maximise community

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a public health challenge on a scale we have not seen in decades. Every person, organisation, business, has been affected directly or indirectly and everyone has had a role to play in managing the crisis and our road to recovery. Read our five strategies for community recovery.

Healthy Environs works with community organisations and local councils on strategy and programs to support health, wellbeing and safety. It may be a confusing time for many as we identify the best way to move forward for our community’s wellbeing and our broader social recovery, but the good news is that ‘health promotion’ and ‘systems thinking’ frameworks give us a head start.

Health Promotion is the discipline that facilitates methods of improvement in community health, wellbeing and safety.

“Health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. It moves beyond a focus on individual behaviour towards a wide range of social and environmental interventions.” (World Health Organisation Health Promotion Glossary, 1998).

Health promotion is underpinned by theoretical concepts including change processes and systems thinking. Theories of change in a health context recognise that the values, beliefs and attitudes that are held by people about themselves, others and their health and wellbeing, affect their actions, behaviour and their motivation to be healthy.

Systems theory recognises that situations arise from multiple interconnecting factors and influences. In the case of health and wellbeing, people can have the personal will to ‘be healthy and safe’ but if the ‘system’ that surrounds them doesn’t support them to make positive choices, they may not maximise this outcome.

To have the best chance of creating a supportive system for the community in the COVID recovery period and beyond, organisations may find the best results if they are guided by the 5 following health promotion strategies, in concert:

  1. Create awareness about aspects of health, wellbeing and safety through the provision of information and training
  2. Facilitate knowledge about and participation in health, wellbeing and safety actions/activities through the provision of education, resources and other participation programs
  3. Support people to access resources and programs as well as more specialised support
  4. Create effective policies, procedures and strategic partnerships that make it easier for people to make positive choices and for your organisation to implement effective support
  5. Ensure that built facilities and natural environments are supportive to positive health, wellbeing and safety

Councils, workplaces and community organisations are already doing many - if not all - of these things to improve physical health, mental health, wellbeing and safety. However, they may be doing lots of one but less or none of another; the best outcomes will be seen if these five strategies are implemented together.

Important links on COVID safety and community wellbeing:

https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/recovery

https://openyourworld.sa.gov.au/