Tue | Jun 18, 2019

Promoting wellness is the right move

Published:Wednesday | May 22, 2019 | 12:21 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

It is very heartening to see the commitment of the Ministry of Health and the Government to promoting wellness, especially to the extent of renaming the ministry ‘Ministry of Health and Wellness’. The word wellness relates to the ideal state of life, where one has a healthy body, mind and spirit, as well as healthy relationships and a healthy environment.

Unfortunately, medical science, as it has evolved today, focuses too exclusively on lessening disease symptoms, through intervention from without, rather than on helping patients to manage their own life in order to promote wellness from within. The more wellness that we have, the less cost for healthcare to the individual and the State, and we will all enjoy greater longevity.

The Government is seeking to go beyond providing conventional medical services to promoting activities that promote wellness. This cannot be their responsibility alone. Agencies within the private sector, NGOs, community groups, workplaces and families will need to be involved. It is said that there is a church in every corner of Jamaica; thus, the health ministry and the Church will need to work very closely together.

As Minister Christopher Tufton has shared, wellness-promoting activities need to include healthy eating and physical activities. Access to healthy food includes householders providing backyard gardens, schools having gardens, more public agricultural projects, and healthier restaurant offerings.

There is also a need for the local authorities, institutions, and communities to establish safe green spaces and parks for physical activities. Education will be needed in all institutions about stress management, healthy relationships and good family life. Every church needs to have health-promoting exercise groups and nutrition programmes, as well as counselling services.

I am especially gratified that this new measure is also taking place at the time of the unfortunate passing of Dr Anthony Vendryes, who for several years has kept the nation informed of the wellness perspective through newspaper columns, radio programmes and community wellness groups. We give tribute to him and to all of those who have kept the issue of wellness alive in the minds of many.

DR E. ANTHONY ALLEN

Psychiatrist

Consultant in Wellness

dreanthonyallen@gmail.com