Primary health care about complete state of well-being
© Frank Gale
Danielle Shea, Primary Health Care manager with Western Health in the Bay St. George area, addresses the Stephenville Rotary Club at its regular luncheon meeting on Wednesday, May 14, 2014.
Primary health care is not just the absence of disease, but a person’s complete state of physical, mental and social well-being. That was the message Danielle Shea, Primary Health Care manager with Western Health, told Rotary members at their regular weekly luncheon meeting Wednesday.
She said it’s the job of the Primary Health Care team to teach people skills that work towards them being healthy and getting away from the “you fix me” line of thinking.
“If you’re not interested in working on your wellness, then you’re not going to participate,” Shea said.
She said access to health services is a huge concern in the area the team services, which includes Bay St. George and Burgeo/Ramea, as people at times have to travel long distances.
Mental health and addictions are included in that and she was really pleased that six-time Olympic medalist Clara Hughes recently took her Big Ride to the area.
“She was a really big help in getting the word out about mental health and it’s good to see more programs taking place now that deal with the stigma of mental health,” she told the Rotarians.
Shea said there is a Primary Health Care Community Advisory Committee that meets once a month to discuss and conceive initiatives to promote health. One of the things the members look at is how to partner with organizations in the community to get the word out about promoting health.
Primary Health Care focuses a lot more on health promotion and injury prevention through helping develop personal skills and building public policy through such things as smoke cessation programs, food and nutrition policies in the school and helmet safety, to name a few.
Shea said Improving Health My Way is a program that empowers people to be able to take control of their symptoms and she said the Bay St. George area is fortunate in having the most trainers trained for the program.
Healing Artwork is a program that’s had success in Corner Brook and now is being explored for the Bay St. George area. Through it, a calming environment is created in waiting rooms at Western Health facilities.
She also said the area is very fortunate to now have the YMCA opened in Stephenville and being used so well.
Shea said anything the Community Advisory Committee can partner with that enhances the community and their health, it will do. She said the committee is always looking for ways to get the message out there and appreciates what Rotary is doing through different programs they’re involved in, including their annual music festival.