Millennials: Join the Well City Challenge

Millennials are the largest population in the U.S., the most educated, and the largest wealth generators over the next two decades – yet they are in poorer health than previous generations. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s 2019 The Health of Millennials Report found that 8 out of 10 top conditions have double-digit increases among millennials and 6 out of 10 are behavioral health conditions. How we handle their health care challenges could make or break the economy. Because Philadelphia is both a hot spot for millennials and home to world-class health care institutions, we are hopeful that our community can play a leading role in identifying and advancing new physical health and mental health solutions for the millennial generation.    The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia is joining forces with Independence Blue Cross to launch the Well City Challenge - a social impact challenge to engage and support everyday innovators with new creative ideas for addressing Philadelphia’s millennial health and mental health challenges related to three themes: Community and Social Connection, Food and Nutrition, and Mind/Body. These themes are even more important due to the rise of millennial health and mental health challenges during COVID-19, the economic recession, and the rise in the movement to combat racism and social injustice.   The Well City Challenge is focused on Philadelphia and will support community solutions for millennial health and mental health through incubator workshops, a pitch competition, mentorship, accelerator, over $50,000 in prizes and an additional $50,000 in seed investments. The Challenge is open to individuals, community groups, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and social enterprises. All backgrounds and levels of [...]

2021-01-02T16:06:35-05:00November 11th, 2020|Mental Health|

Impact of Gardening on Mental Health

This week we celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day, and there’s no better way to celebrate these holidays than by getting your hands dirty. Gardening engages you physically, mentally, and socially. Health benefits are numerous and you don’t need to live in the suburbs or the country to experience gardening and its benefits.  Gardening can positively impact a number of health outcomes, including: Reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety Decrease in reported stress and mood disturbances Decrease in BMI Higher reported sense of community Increased physical activity Improved cognitive function Gardening has both immediate and long-term effects on health. For individuals with mental health conditions, horticultural therapy - using gardening as a means to facilitate dialogue and skill building - has shown promise for improving chronic and acute mental health conditions. People report feeling happier almost immediately when engaging in gardening. Over time, individuals lowered their BMI through physical activity and improved nutrition. One study identified improvements in depression, life satisfaction, and cognitive function continuing for 3 months after therapy. Earth Day and Arbor Day are great catalysts for encouraging us to spend more time in nature and trying out gardening as a hobby; but just how does gardening impact health? Connecting with nature   Nature has been shown to be restorative to our minds, cognitively and emotionally. Spending time [...]

2021-01-02T19:46:18-05:00April 24th, 2019|Anxiety, Community, Depression, Mental Health, Stress|

Recognizing Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

July is Minority Mental Health Awareness month. You might wonder: why the distinction, if mental health doesn’t discriminate across race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation? Consider this: while the number of people experiencing mental illness may be the same across demographic groupings, people's access to care and quality of treatment for mental illness varies greatly. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “the quality of and access to mental health care are suboptimal for minority groups.” NIMH also describes several recent studies showing that “members of racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. are less likely to have access to mental health services, less likely to use community mental health services, more likely to use inpatient hospitalization and emergency rooms, and more likely to receive lower quality care.” Cultural and language differences add to the challenge. Mental illness is still not acknowledged in many cultures, resulting in even more stigma around help seeking behaviors. In fact, mental health symptoms might present as physical symptoms so that the underlying causes to problems are missed. Most clinicians in the US provide services in English, which puts certain ethnic groups at a disadvantage. Those who seek help often are connected to counselors who don’t speak their native language, making it even less likely they will follow through with long-term counseling. The [...]

2018-07-10T14:49:34-04:00July 10th, 2018|Mental Health|

Un cambio de liderazgo: Mi estrategia de afrontamiento

Una gran parte de nuestro país se ha sentido en conflicto con el resultado de las últimas elecciones. Y es comprensible: la negatividad, la culpa, las mentiras, las intrigas y la desinformación (léase: noticias falsas) han plagado estas elecciones desde ambos lados del espectro político. ¿El resultado? Tensión postelectoral. Lo que me duele de estas últimas elecciones no es la política, sino el impacto que han tenido en personas importantes para mí. Mi vecino jubilado está preocupado por la cobertura de la atención médica, mis amigos LGBTQ tienen miedo de convertirse en víctimas de delitos motivados por el odio, y mis compañeros de la universidad están desilusionados porque no saben si podrán contar con el programa de condonación de préstamos estudiantiles. Por otro lado, personas que conozco y quiero temen ser criticadas por haber votado a favor de principios importantes para ellos, como los abortos y la defensa del derecho a la vida, o los impuestos comerciales.   Nada me duele más que ver sufrir a los demás. Mis propios pensamientos sobre los resultados electorales se volvieron casi irrelevantes cuando alguien importante para mí me contó el efecto tan negativo que las elecciones habían tenido en ella. Me di cuenta de que el dolor de estas elecciones no tiene que ver tanto conmigo, sino con todas las personas que se sienten discriminadas, ignoradas o atacadas simplemente por [...]

2021-01-02T20:09:24-05:00January 31st, 2018|Mental Health|
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