Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Health Inequities & A Living Wage: Examining the Halifax Living Wage Report

You are doing a lot of work for the little bit of money that you get, and then when you do get a raise it is so small, it doesn’t make a difference. So you are there trying to scrape together; OK well I have this much money and have these bills, trying to make things work. It is very frustrating, stressful.
(Working for a Living, Not Living for Work: The Halifax Living Wage 2015, page 42)

While developing our 2013 Community Health Plan, our community told us that all aspects of inequity—for example, poverty, race, disability, sexual orientation, literacy, and language barriers—impact their lives and health. And the biggest contributor to inequity is poverty. To quote from our Health Plan:

The high cost of prescription drugs, healthy foods, dental care, home care and recreation programs were key barriers to accessing health-related services, particularly for the “working poor”, who do not receive support from Community Services or have the financial ability to pay for services. (2013 Community Health Plan, p2)

Because we look at our communities from the perspective of the Social Determinants of Health, issues of poverty and inequity are important to us, as they are to those living in our community. (Read more about the Social Determinants of Health by clicking here)

Recently, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Nova Scotia and the United Way Halifax, published a report that looks at a living wage as one way of beginning to address poverty and inequity in our community. Working for a Living, Not Living for Work: The Halifax Living Wage 2015 defines a living wage as “what it actually costs to live and raise a family in a specific community.” (page 2) For Halifax, the living wage is $20.10 per hour for each adult earner in a family. This would enable families to meet their basic needs and enjoy a good quality of life. It would:
· Enable families who are working to escape poverty
· Foster healthy childhood development
· Encourage gender equality
· Alleviate severe financial stress and provide some level of economic security
· Allow for active participation in the social, cultural, and civic life of the community 
(Working for a Living, Not Living for Work: The Halifax Living Wage 2015, page 2)
All of these outcomes are issues included in the Social Determinants of Health.

As a Community Health Board, we believe achieving a healthy community is a shared responsibility that needs involvement from a wide variety of individuals, groups and sectors. Working for a Living, Not Living for Work: The Halifax Living Wage 2015 offers a starting point for discussing the health impacts of poverty in our community and an interesting and well researched proposal for addressing the issue. 

  • Download a copy of Working for a Living, Not Living for Work: The Halifax Living Wage 2015 by clicking here
  • Click here to find out how to calculate a living wage 
  • Find our 2013 Community Health Plan by clicking here
  • See the Halifax CHB insert to the 2013 Community Health Plan by clicking here and downloading PDF from link.
  • Read more about the Social Determinants of Health by clicking here

Sunday, February 22, 2015

TeenMentalHealth.org: A Resource Ready for Action

Earlier this month board members from the seven Community Health Boards within Capital Health district had the privilege of listening to Dr. Stan Kutcher talk about TeenMentalHealth.org, an amazing resource for parents, educators, health professionals and youth aiming to increase levels of mental health literacy.

TeenMentalHealth.org is not just a website, but is also home to free print resources, an app and an Ebook. At times we can get bogged down by jargon when trying to educate ourselves about health issues; Dr. Kutcher and his team eliminate this roadblock through translation and transfer of scientific knowledge.

Resources available from TeenMentalHealth.org mean you don’t need to spend time trying to decipher and tailor the message, they are ready for action.

Find them here

For more information on how classroom curriculum can improve mental health care visit click here.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Reflecting & Moving Forward

As the first month of 2015 comes to a close we look forward to the months ahead and reflect back on the successes of 2014.

As a community health board we strive to be the eyes, ears and voice or our community. 12-15 board members carry out this goal by nurturing existing relationships and building new ones with individuals and organizations that also support community-health and well-being.  

We also assist in formulating a community health plan, which you can find here Community Health Plan. During consultations for the health plan the community told us there were three main areas of concern 1) Health Inequities 2) Mental Health & Stress 3) Access to Health Services & Information. These three areas now act as the guiding force for the activities and opportunities we pursue.

With that, 2014 proved to be a successful year for the board! We supported community initiatives such as Switch Halifax – Open Street Sundays, PATH (People assessing their health), CHIA (Community Health Impact Assessment), the Halifax Refugee Clinic, striving to build African Nova Scotian Health Professionals, and Bayers Westwood Family Literacy Day.
We developed and launched the Halifax insert for the community health plan, carried out advocacy work on alcohol policy, Leadership Council strategic planning and advisement to the Minister of Health.

Last but not least we selected 15 Community Development Fund (CDF) recipients and held a celebration night for the wonderful work they’ve done in their community with funds they received.

Thank you for visiting, we wish you all the best in 2015!

Be sure to like us on Facebook at Halifax Community Health Board and follow us on Twitter @HalifaxCHB to see what we’re up to and for all the latest health and wellness opportunities in Halifax.