Community Health and Wellbeing
NorWest Community Health Centres is part of a vibrant network of more than 100 community governed, interprofessional, primary health care organizations that serve diverse communities in Ontario.
NorWest has a mandate to serve people who often experience barriers to health care: people living on low incomes, those in rural and remote areas, recent immigrants, people with disabilities, people with mental health and addictions challenges, and people who identify as LGBTQ. Under one roof, we are able to provide both primary health care services and a range of community supports that are based on the needs of the people we serve.
NorWest is celebrating Community Health and Wellbeing Week from October 22 to 28, 2018. Our focus this October and leading to the Health and Wellbeing Week is to encourage and support our clients to cast their vote in the municipal elections which are taking place on Monday, October 22.Part of our message will be around:
- Eligibility to vote, which is determined by Canadian citizenship, being 18 years and older, and living in Thunder Bay
- Having one vote based on where you live
- Voting if you do not have a permanent home address
- Voting instructions on how to access the voting system will be mailed to people on the elector’s list.Options include voting in person, by Internet at thunderbay.evote2018.ca, or by telephone or by cell phone by calling 1-833-461-6675.Each voter will be given a PIN or unique code to cast their one vote.
- Directing inquiries to the City of Thunder Bay website that explains the election process, whom is running for election, what to do if you do not get voting instructions or lose your PIN at https://www.tbayvotes.ca/en/index.aspx
The Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW), the basis for our community development strategy, focusses on key aspects of life. At the root of the CIW are the Canadian values of democracy, diversity, economic security, equity, fairness, health, inclusion, safety and sustainability. The CIW features eight domains, with eight indicators, resulting in a collection of 64 indicators measuring wellbeing. One of these domains is demographic engagement, which is why we are encouraging individuals that have never voted to participate in the municipal elections.
To promote inclusion, many of the programs and services at NorWest aim to build a sense of community and belonging. Why this focus on belonging? Psychologist Susan Pinker, as part of her research for her book ‘The Village Effect’, found that “face-to-face contact matters”. The personal village around you will help you survive, and hopefully thrive. Pinker spoke of current research on longevity. The network of connections you have, this village you belong to, has the most impact on longevity, followed by the relationships with close family members and friends. This sense of belonging is more important to live a long life than not drinking, not smoking, exercising, immunization and other lifestyle choices or factors.
To further enhance the sense of community, NorWest is establishing collaborative practice as part of the model of care. This practice model is created when clients take an active role in taking care of each other by organizing activities that promote wellbeing, belonging, and the sense contribution to their community. It includes clients, volunteers, staff, neighbours and partners from the community to create opportunities for people to belong via the gifting of time and sharing of resources to deliver peer led activities.
Anita Jean is Manager of Health and Social Programs at the NorWest Community Health Centres.
Feel Better, Live Longer, Be Happier