April 6-12 is National Public Health Week and this year, with the COVID-19 pandemic unfolding, the nation has witnessed the scope of public health in their daily lives.
Each day during Public Health Week, a different function of public health is featured and focused on: mental health, maternal and child health, violence prevention, environmental health, education, healthy housing and economics.
Social distancing has impacted the mental health of many who now feel lonely, anxious or depressed. Public health professionals encourage anyone feeling unsettled to call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990.
Spending more time than usual closed up in our homes also presents challenges for those living with addiction or domestic violence. Text YourLifeIowa at 855-895-8398 or call them at 855-581-8111 for support.
Public Health educates communities with accurate information. Topics are as diverse as the current COVID-19 pandemic. chronic diseases such as diabetes, prenatal care for pregnant women and immunizations for children, the link between health and our surroundings — including housing, water quality and pest infestations — proper nutrition and lifelong physical activities for exercise.
Public Health agencies are very aware of the impact of poor health on the economy and the advantages of preventing costly treatment of preventable health conditions.
Ann Cochran is the health navigation coordinator in the Dallas County Public Health Department.