Planning For The Future

<p style="text-align: justify;">In a world of climate change, population growth, and depletion of natural resources, we must be conscious of our surroundings, resources, and partnerships when it comes to establishing plans to prepare for, respond to and recover from environmental catastrophes.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Across the world, we have seen a rise in unfortunate events such as wildfires, typhoons, hurricanes, earthquakes, and flooding. There are steps that can and have been taken to minimize climate change; however, the progression to an ideal global climate will take time, and unfortunately, we cannot prevent environmental catastrophes from occurring.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">However, we can take a proactive approach to ensure we are prepared to take the steps necessary to ensure our communities' health, safety and sustainability and the natural world around us.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Community Health Priorities&nbsp;</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Mental Health </strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">I would like to begin by addressing by far one of the most important aspects of environmental catastrophes and natural disasters that impact our communities of which we reside.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Mental health is the key. &nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">In times of uncertainty, we must retain a strong sense of self to provide the best possible assistance to what is most important for our families and communities.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Clarity and consciousness yield great results.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">When we look at mental health, sometimes it is challenging to address this seemingly sensitive subject. Yet, we must embrace it. There is no shame. We must reflect upon our inner guide to ensure the sustainability of a brighter future.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Our communities host wealth beyond monetary value, which is within us all. We must break barriers and conduct breakthroughs amongst indifference.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">For those who are subject to devastation and destruction beyond recollection: we will find that these individuals need special care. Some services can be provided or established by a host of faith-based organizations, private and governmental sectors, licensed professionals, and citizens willing to lend a helping hand.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">For caretakers, healthcare providers, and emergency response personnel: mental health awareness is far more important. Personal health and mental stability are a priority. This priority is multifaceted.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Phase one</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">To have the ability to maintain the strength necessary to sustain long-term exposure to devastation, destruction, and trauma.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Phase two </strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">To bring our best selves to the task at hand every day.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Phase three</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">To have the patience and adaptability to set aside differences and alter egos to conduct internal and external relations with partner organizations. We must maintain a balance of self to adequately provide the best possible outcome for our communities.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">To best accomplish our objectives, and as we hold true to ourselves, we must reflect our inner guide. We must foster growth. We must keep the importance of communication and collaboration at the forefront of our minds.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Upon successful practice, we will find that mental health is the key to the health and well-being of our communities in the face of disasters and environmental catastrophes.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 10pt;">This article was contributed by our expert <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Anthony Ross</a></span></p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h3 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 18pt;">Frequently Asked Questions Answered by Anthony Ross</span></h3><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">1. How can you promote mental health in your community?</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">In my opinion, the opportunities to promote mental health depend solely on one&rsquo;s passion for keeping their community in good standing. When we look at various approaches, we often find that the strongest advocates within our communities often yield the best results.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">One well-noted option is to organize and host community groups where residents can come together, regardless of religion and spiritual beliefs. Within these organizations and groups, a wide range of activities can be provided to achieve a well-balanced state of emotional well-being.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Some of my personal favorites are as follows:&nbsp;</p><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li>Spending time outdoors in nature</li><li>Meditation</li><li>Art therapy</li></ul><p style="text-align: justify;">These activities are usually well received by all who attend or participate in such services for their community.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">You can promote mental health in your community by taking action in the following ways:</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Obtain credentials such as:</p><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li>Certification in psychological first aid</li><li>Become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)</li><li>Enter the field of social work</li></ul><p style="text-align: justify;">Volunteer with organizations, educational institutions, companies, and places of worship</p><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li>Lend a helping hand to your fellow man</li><li>Lend an ear to those who need to be consoled</li></ul><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">2. What are the four pillars of mental well-being?</span></h2><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li>Sense of personal safety and security</li><li>Emotional support and connection</li><li>Mechanisms to cope with stressors</li><li>Access to services when appropriate for short-and long-term care&nbsp;</li></ul><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">3. How do environmental factors affect mental health?</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">There is quite an extensive range of environmental factors that pose the potential to affect mental health nearly everywhere across the world negatively.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Chances are you live in an area with weather shifts or a unique climate. Environmental factors such as extended rainy seasons, high humidity, long winters below freezing, and summers with unbearable heat can strain the body and mind. We could also list factors such as extended periods of darkness with the shifting of daylight savings or consecutive cloudy days.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Physical health in these conditions can strain mental health when susceptible to breathing complications, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, cold and flu virus, and hypothermia.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Beyond climate and weather, we find another variety of circumstances. If we were to view these circumstances from the standpoint of natural or man-made, they could be natural, but a majority lean towards manmade&mdash;examples like air pollution and water pollution. We can also account for the scarcity of resources and access to safe drinking water and sustainable food. These factors certainly can make us susceptible to degraded physical and mental health.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">4. What would you do to address mental health issues in a complex humanitarian emergency?</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">Something to always be mindful of here is that we are faced with addressing some of the most complex conditions we as humans experience. Addressing onset trauma and degraded emotional well-being is far more complicated than responding to a car wreck or home fire, for example.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The human mind is complex and delicate and must be handled with care and compassion in emergencies. We cannot simply respond to the scene and apply a tourniquet or splint, suppress a fire, or clear vehicle wreckage from a public roadway. Provide quality care and create a standpoint of peace first with those affected, then proceed to facilitate additional needs.</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Recommendations </strong></p><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li>Establish strongholds:<br />Safe zones such as shelters are necessary and should be established pending available resources and infrastructure stability. This will provide a sense of security and sanctuary for those who may have their domestic stability and livelihood stripped away with little to no warning.</li><li>Boots on the ground:<br />Develop case management services. This is where to implement the established and certified service providers. Field workers can conduct triage and assessment and provide follow-up appointments and connections to resources, services, and unmet needs to survivors and those affected.</li><li>Reinforcements:<ul><li>Advocating - On behalf of those affected</li><li>Promoting - Available services</li><li>Mentoring - By facilitating exposure of inspirational experiences for aspiring minds</li><li>Fostering - The growth of partnerships</li><li>Guiding - To build resilience for our communities in times of uncertainty &nbsp;</li></ul></li></ul><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p>
KR Expert - Anthony Ross

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