For many of us, health is not valued until sickness comes. We tend to think of health and being healthy as a far-off concept that’s reserved for the rich, those dieting, or older people. But health is a reality for each of us. And when the time comes to start thinking about our health, be it the seasonal flu or something life-threatening, we learn and remember too late that prevention is better than cure. World Health Day is a day where health and the challenge of accessing healthcare come into focus.
World Health Day
World Health Day, now in its 75th year, is celebrated annually on 7 April across the globe. Health and access to healthcare is a human right and need. It’s a right that every human regardless of age, gender, race, religion, political beliefs, economic status, or social standing should enjoy.
This World Health Day is a chance to reflect on achievements in public health that have enhanced quality of life over the previous seven decades. It is also a chance to inspire action to address current and upcoming health concerns.
Understanding the importance of health
Health is more than eating salads and going on the latest diet fad. Health is not just the absence of a disease or an infirmity. Instead, health is a holistic state of your physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being.
Benefits of physical health
Physical health is more than not being sick or not needing to go to your doctor. It’s also about feeling good and strong physically and being able to fight off diseases.
- Good physical health can delay or prevent non-communicable diseases like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease
- Improve memory and brain function
- Better sleep quality
- Boosts energy levels and mood
- Helps weight management
- Helps reduce anxiety and depression
Advantages of good mental health
The World Health Organization says that “Mental health is a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community.” Mental health is experienced differently and varies in degrees of difficulty and distress for everyone. Our mental and emotional health affects how we feel, think, and behave, our ability to handle stress, how we relate to others, and making healthy choices. Our mental health and well-being are central to who we are.
- Good mental and emotional health affects physical health
- Improved self-esteem
- Reduced anxiety and risks of depression
- Clearer thinking
- Improved mood
- Better relationships
Health benefits of social wellness
Social health relates to you and the relationships you have. Good social health and wellness are believed to positively influence healthy behaviours, mental health, and physical health.
- Promotes a sense of belonging and a feeling of safe
- Social interactions are good for your brain health – lower the risk of dementia
- Boosts your immune system
- Adds years to your lifespan
All these and your spiritual and intellectual health work together to help you live your best life. If you neglect one, it can have a ripple effect on the others. This is why studies and experts urge incorporating a holistic approach to health that encompasses all five elements. “A life without health is like a river without water,” Maxime Lagacé
Ways to partake in World Health Day
World Health Day is a global initiative, but it also has a personal element to it. Our individual health matters and this day can serve as a reminder to take care of our health and well-being. Considering this year’s Health for All theme, here are a few ways you can celebrate World Health Day:
- Donate blood and/or sign up to become a blood or bone marrow donor.
- Book your annual check-up with your doctor.
- Spread love and gratitude to the health and medical staff you come across.
- Be intentional about developing and following a healthy lifestyle – eat well and do daily exercise.
- Educate yourself about health and your health risks. You can enrol for a Diploma in Health Studies, Managing Health and Safety in Healthcare if you’re a healthcare worker, First Aid for Mental Health, Managing Health and Safety in Schools, and Human Health – Human Development and Health courses.
- Share your favourite healthy recipes and meals with friends
- Get involved and spread the message across social media using #HealthForAll and #WHO75
Health and healthcare don’t have to be boring. There is so much we can do individually and collectively to not only spread the message of health for all but take ownership of our own health. At home or at work, find creative ways to educate and include your colleagues and children in taking care of and being conscious of their health. Find out what your local community and groups are doing and donate your time or resources to help them in their outreach efforts.
On this World Health Day, and every other day, let’s remember that our health is the greatest gift. If you’re struggling mentally and think your mental health may be jeopardised, take our free mental health check-up below. This short assessment will measure your mental health and well-being and help you to live a happier, healthier, and more productive life tomorrow!