Public Health in Councils
Public Health Week 2019
Public Health Week 2019 runs from Monday 8 April to Friday 12 April 2019, and aligns with World Health Day on Sunday 7 April 2019. Each year there is a different theme aimed at raising awareness about the significant but often unseen role of public health in protecting health, preventing illness and promoting wellbeing.
What is public health and what is the role of Councils?
Public health is what we do collectively as a society to create conditions and environments for the health and wellbeing of all South Australians. Public health touches our lives – every day in thousands of ways – working behind the scenes to ensure that South Australians avoid illness and injury, and can be part of healthy, liveable and connected communities.
Councils play an essential role in public health, through everything they do that protects and promotes community health and wellbeing. Under Sections 6 & 7 of the Local Government Act 1999, and a raft of linked public health legislation, (including the South Australian Public Health Act 2011), local councils take action on public health. This is undertaken through multiple partnerships with government, non-government organisations and industry and consequently builds thriving, healthy communities.
While the traditional tools of public health, based on sanitation, hygiene and immunisation are still critical for the protection of public and environmental health, they are no longer sufficient to guarantee the ongoing health of the population.
Public health interventions now require flexible, inter-sectorial responses to manage the emergence of chronic disease, the impacts of climate change and the prevalence of mental health issues. Promoting public health is about promoting wider community wellbeing.
This years theme
The theme for Public Health Week 2019 is 5 Ways to Wellbeing, which recognises the important link between mental and physical health and wellbeing.
The 5 Ways to Wellbeing are five simple steps we can all take to protect and improve our mental and physical health and wellbeing by: connecting with the people around us; being active by going for a walk, run, ride, playing games or simply just going outside; taking notice and enjoying the moment, challenging ourselves to keep learning and, giving by doing something nice for someone else.
Connect ◦ Be Active ◦ Take Notice ◦ Keep Learning ◦ Give
- With the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school, or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.
- Developing close relationships and socialising with friends, family and others, is important for good health and wellbeing. Broadening your social networks and range of relationships with others in the wider community, is also important for your wellbeing.
- Regular participation in community activities is great for physical and mental wellbeing. Being an active part of the community can include involvement in a social or community group, sport or physical recreation group or attendance at events or programs.
- Survey results show that social participation is the most significant difference you can make towards high levels of wellbeing.
- Celebrate and promote the wide variety of activities, events and opportunities that encourage residents of all ages to be involved in their community, and which can bring the whole community together.
- Go for a walk or a run. Step Outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level or mobility and fitness.
- Being active is important for good health at all ages and life stages to help keep your mind and body working well.
- Being active doesn’t need to be hard or costly, and can be very enjoyable.
- Being active can improve your moods and increase self-confidence, keep you at a healthier weight, increase your muscle mass, increase your brain cells, and prevent or delay the onset of many illnesses.
- Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.
- We tend to place great importance on making sure children and young people develop skills, knowledge and experience to help them on their journey into adulthood. But research shows it’s just as important for people of all ages and life stages to keep learning for happiness, health and wellbeing.
- Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experience will help you appreciate what matters to you.
- Being in a state of mindfulness predicts positive mental states, and heightened self-knowledge – it helps us to enjoy the world more and better understand ourselves.
- Lives can be busy, yet we all have a ‘pause’ button. Try taking a breath or a break to rest and sit quietly, perhaps in a busy place, noticing the interactions between people, maybe outdoors, listening to the sounds of nature, or taking a break from work.
- Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer you time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, as linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.
- Most people would agree that helping others is a good thing to do in itself. But research shows it can also improve your wellbeing.
For a list of events being held during Public Health Week visit the 2019 Public Health Week Calendar of Events (PDF 78KB) (opens in a new window).
For more information about Public Health Week 2019, visit www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/protectingpublichealth
The South Australian Public Health Act 2011 was passed by Parliament in June 2011 and came into full operation on 16 June 2013. The Act replaces the Public and Environmental Health Act 1987 and provides a modernised flexible legislative framework to respond to new and traditional public health challenges. The Act has a number of new elements but maintains and improves on many of the provisions under the previous legislation. It is intended to:
- promote and provide for the protection of the health of the public of South Australia;
- reduce the incidence of preventable illness, injury and disability;
- improve co-ordination between health officials across State and Local Government;
- manage public health issues; and
- enable public health officials to engage more effectively with all sectors of the community to advance public health
For more information on Public Health, please go to: www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/protectingpublichealth
Council’s Environmental Health Officers undertake a variety of routine and complaint based inspections to reduce the spread of communicable diseases and to ensure a high level of public health is maintained within their area to ensure a safe and healthy community. For further information regarding:
- food safety
- public swimming pools and spas
- legionella control
- safe drinking water
- hairdressers, beauty and tattoo premises
- hoarding and squalor
- onsite wastewater systems
- and other public health concerns, please contact your local council.