Bringing the Vital Conditions to Life: Basic Needs for Health and Safety

Part of our Vital Conditions series that’s designed to help you bridge the connection from understanding each Vital Condition to identifying ways to improve it in your community and where to start. 

Inspired by our organization’s name -- IP3 -- we’ve structured this series to showcase People successfully improving Conditions at the local level, Places who have built up momentum worth modeling, and inspiring Possibilities to drive your work.

What is Basic Needs for Health and Safety?

Our most practical requirements for life can be summed up as the basic needs for health and safety. This includes things like basic health care, clean air, safe water, and nutritious food, but also entails a sense of safety and belonging, loving relationships, and freedom from toxic stress and mental illness. Learn more

Why is this considered a vital condition for health?

Basic needs for health and safety are by far the most obvious of the Vital Conditions, but can be difficult to address due to the stigma often associated with assistance programs and the American culture of self-reliance. While children and the elderly are the most vulnerable, everyone benefits from the security of having their basic needs met. Learn more

Inspirational People

Nearly everyone has a personal story to share about a mental health crisis, including New York City’s  First Lady Chirlane McCray. She openly talks about her parent’s depression while she was growing up, her daughter’s struggle with depression and substance abuse as a teenager, and the difficulty she and Mayor Bill deBlasio faced getting help for their daughter. 

“I felt everything you’d expect a mother to feel: love, sadness, fear, and a whole lot of uncertainty. But I didn’t know where to turn. There was no established series of steps for us to refer to. Bill and I had to trust the recommendations of people we didn’t really know, and make some major decisions

based on faith alone,” McCray stated in the ThriveNYC Roadmap.

Using that experience as a catalyst for change, she spearheaded ThriveNYC, a comprehensive effort to improve the mental health system and promote wellness for all New Yorkers. 

To begin, ThriveNYC created a Mental Health Roadmap that focuses future work on 6 Guiding Principles and 54 Targeted Initiatives. The overarching goals include improving connections to care, providing more services to populations in need, and activating workplaces as partners for both access to care and post-treatment job opportunities. 

ThriveNYC’s Year Two Update highlights a number of successes, including:

  • More than 37,000 people have taken Mental Health First Aid, an eight-hour course that teaches participants how to connect with and support those facing a mental health challenge. 

  • There are now over 200 LMSWs and LCSWs at family shelters throughout all five boroughs of New York, including youth shelters, veteran’s homes, and senior centers.

  • The Mental Health Innovation Lab was created, which drives the use of evidence-based practices and  advances methods for collecting, synthesizing and disseminating data needed to close treatment gaps.

Since ThriveNYC launched, municipal leaders across the country have come together to learn about the ThriveNYC model and share their own innovative programs. The Cities Thrive Coalition is focused on developing new ways to address mental health challenges before they become more serious  and pushing the federal government to make mental health and substance misuse a top priority. 

To recognize her profound impact on mental health, Chirlane McCray was named one of TIME Magazine’s 50 Most Influential People in Health Care for 2018.

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MindWise Innovations Mental Health Screening
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Inspirational Place

Snohomish County, just north of Seattle, has seen its population quickly grow in the past decade, and with that growth comes the need to re-evaluate how basic health issues are handled.

To address this, the Providence Institute for a Healthier Community (PIHC) was formed to act as a catalyst for innovation in health and well-being in Snohomish County. PIHC looks at health through the lenses of Aim Well, Live Well, and Partner Well

  • Aim Well looked at creating a shared vision for health. In 2015 a research firm conducted a county-wide survey and guided discussions that helped them define 24 attributes clustered into six broad dimensions of health that the community defined as health and well-being.  

  • LiveWell focuses on the traditional methods towards achieving health and wellness, such as programs aimed at access to healthy food, regular physical activity, and other health resources. 

  • Partner Well provided the backbone to allow PIHC to become a founding supporter of the Snohomish County Health Leadership Coalition (SCHLC) in its LiveHealthy2020 initiative.

The outcome of this work is the annual Health & Well-Being Monitor™, a standard for health and health monitoring in Snohomish County that is defined by the people who live there. It serves to track and report changes in health status as well as offer insight into emerging health issues.

Another version of the monitor, called My Community Health & Well Being Monitor, is now available for individual, self-defined communities within the county. It allows them to use county data to compare how their area is doing and determine where to focus efforts. 

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Possibilities to Inspire You

The Well Being Trust has chosen to highlight these solutions as ones that are not only possible, but have a real chance to improve lives. 

There are many opportunities to improve conditions Basic Needs for Health and Safety in communities. Some of the most significant opportunities are:

  • Transform the healthcare industry to insure everyone and deliver better routine care, with a deep understanding of people’s socioeconomic circumstances and traumatic experiences.

  • Break the cycles of intergenerational poverty, violence, and racism.

  • Establish place-based policy and investment agendas crafted by resident leaders and professionals from multi-sectors to shape local priorities and build the strength necessary to enact laws, regulations, and administrative policies, that support health and well-being in an entire geographic area.

We offer the following collection of community success stories, resources, and tools to help you explore current conditions, look for possibilities, build community, and take action.

 Related Topics

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Seven Vital Conditions for Health and Well-Being

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Basic Needs for Health and Safety

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Social Determinants of Health

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Mental and Behavioral Health