Grantham Journal column: Health support is out there so please take time to use it
Lincolnshire County Council has produced public health data for our district and councillors were invited to review their report in training.
The World Health Organisation definition considers ‘being healthy’ to include our mental state, how we socialise with others, our sexual health and our sense of place in the world.
As people become more insular with modern life this affects our overall sense of well being.
Calls to emergency services by elderly isolated people are increasing. But they are not the only people in need of help.
There were also 280 hospital stays relating to self-harming, many being single younger men, over the same period last year, highlighting the importance of maintaining good mental health and a sense of well being for all.
There is a direct link between poverty and life expectancy. In Grantham there are pockets of poverty which are among the worst in England.
Whilst overall life expectancy is gradually increasing, wealthier men in our District are likely to live seven years longer than men living in poverty. At present 13.6 per cent of our local poor children are likely to live shorter lives than their classmates unless their economic circumstances improve.
The chancellor’s budget, which purports to support those in work, whilst reducing support for those out of work, may be too blunt an instrument.
The fact we have above average levels of statutory homelessness is also cause for concern. The government must take more action to build social housing.
Last year sixty-six people, representing higher than the national average number of people, died or were seriously injured on our District’s roads. Improved driving skills and more investment in road safety is needed.
Smoking also remains a risk to our health and a quarter of us are overweight. Early intervention can save lives however.
It is possible for local people aged between 40 and 74 years to ask their GP for a free NHS Health Check. Lincolnshire’s Public Health team state this will ‘…help you take action to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, type two diabetes and kidney disease.’
In a small group of councillors three had either personal experience or their loved ones had taken the opportunity to have a free blood pressure test only to find serious, even potentially fatal issues that had been undiscovered until then.
The NHS Health Check helpline is available on 0845 850 9850 where stroke support is also available.
Please use it.