Five Pillars - Wellness Strategy
The definition of health by the World Health Organization is: “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease” and mental health is defined as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” Islanders who have positive mental wellness are better equipped to deal with the stresses and challenges that life presents. They enjoy greater satisfaction in life, strong connections with family, friends and community and enjoy more positive emotions. The relationship between positive mental health and physical health are both reciprocal and dependent. There is not one without the other.
“Keep talking of Mental Health every day. ..” Discussion Paper Respondent
The environments where we live, work and play and the relationships within these are critical influences on our mental health. By increasing mental health promotion and anti-stigma efforts on the Island, the knowledge, skills and training of Islanders in the area of mental health will be enhanced. This is also realized through timely positive and healthy experiences for children and youth. This strategy will aim to foster an environment for all Islanders to flourish and enjoy the many benefits of positive mental health.
Physical Activity and Reduction in Sedentary Behavior
Islanders who are physically active and limit the amount of time they spend in sedentary positions are at a lower risk of acquiring a number of chronic diseases and illnesses.1 Getting Island children & youth moving is important for proper growth and development and it is critical for maintaining health as we age. Living independently later in life requires Islanders to be able to carry out basic functions requiring strong bones and muscles which is another benefit of an active lifestyle.
Conversely, Islanders need to focus on the amount of time they are spending in front of screens and find balance between enjoying the natural world and the electronic world. Active play for children and youth can be just as engaging as electronic play if the proper conditions are created. Adults must set a positive example for this to occur.
Over the past few decades, great strides have been made in reducing the number of Islanders using tobacco and those being exposed to second hand smoke.16 The research is very clear that those consuming tobacco increase their risk for a number of chronic diseases and health conditions.1 Quitting smoking and the use of other tobacco products can be very challenging for Islanders and it is important the proper supports are in place when Islanders decide to quit. With the launch of new tobacco based products, flavors and marketing strategies, Islanders must remain vigilant in the campaign to reduce tobacco use and keep new users from starting. Updating legislation and programs to stay ahead of these new tobacco approaches is critical to keeping Islanders well.
There are opportunities to impact healthy food and overall healthy living choices in many different settings and across the lifespan – from breastfeeding friendly environments, early learning centers, schools, post-secondary education settings, workplaces, recreation facilities, hospitals, and long term care facilities. Policies demonstrate the commitment to creating healthy environments in these settings.
“Help people understand how to eat healthy, prepare healthy meals and make good choices at the grocery store.
With today’s busy lifestyle there have been a growing number of convenience foods on the market. Some convenience foods are quite healthy, but many are high in sodium, added sugar, and calories. With the reliance on convenience foods people are cooking less whole foods and are losing food preparation skills. Having food skills helps to create a stronger connection to where our food comes from and gives us more options for healthy food choices while on a tight budget.
Across Canada we see the cost of food continues to climb. PEI has many low income households with many people who would be classified as ‘food insecure’. This is a complex issue and needs a collaborative effort to address it.
Consuming Alcohol Responsibly
Alcohol misuse is a significant negative contributor to population health and the social fabric of the province. Over consumption, drinking and driving, underage drinking and binge drinking are a number of behaviors that lead to undesirable outcomes such as individual harm, family and community disharmony, violence and in some cases death. There needs to be a new normal created for alcohol consumption in the province with Islanders enjoying alcoholic beverages in a responsible fashion.