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Basic Needs for Health and Safety
Basic Needs for Health and Safety is about our most practical requirements for physical and mental survival. It is about having enough of the things we cannot live without. It is about feeling safe wherever we go; being free from addiction and toxic stress; and nurturing healthy babies. It is also about getting routine health care.
Basic Needs for Health and Safety is one of seven interrelated “vital conditions” that comprise the Vital Conditions for Community Health and Well-being framework. The framework helps us understand the systems that produce equitable well-being for all, and opportunities to shift those systems and drive improvement. Learn more about the Vital Conditions framework >>
None of us can reach our full potential in the absence of several practical requirements for physical and mental survival. Each of us must have enough air, water, and nutritious food; a good balance of physical activity and sleep; and safe, satisfying sexuality, and healthy reproduction for those who bear children. We need to feel safe from violence, crime, and injury in our homes, schools, workplaces, and communities. Less visible, but just as important, is our need to be free from addiction, trauma, and toxic stress. And everyone depends on having routine health care to prevent and diagnose illness, and to care for inevitable afflictions when they arise.
Meeting many of these basic needs has a direct benefit by avoiding hunger, exhaustion, or injury. Others have less conspicuous impacts, in part, because they support our bodies’ ability to withstand adversity, fight infection, maintain a healthy weight, and nurture a healthy pregnancy. If any of these basic needs are not met, the effects can be immediate, or the consequences can take decades to unfold. While children are particularly vulnerable, adults are as well. Among the forces that stand in the way of meeting these basic needs are poverty, racism, and other forms of discrimination or isolation.
There are myriad opportunities to improve conditions for Basic Needs for Health and Safety in communities. Some of the most significant opportunities pertain to:
- Expanding access to healthcare and preventive services;
- Enabling healthy behaviors; and
- Fostering safer, more just communities.
This page directs you to topical content on Community Commons to help drive system improvements to Basic Needs for Health and Safety in your community.