What is health and well-being
Wellbeing is not just the absence of disease or illness. It is a complex combination of a person's physical, mental, emotional and social health factors. Wellbeing is fundamental to quality of life, quality of human relationships and the capacity to participate in work and the community. In short, wellbeing could be described as how you feel about yourself and your life.
The World Health Organisation defines health as “a state of complete physical, social and mental wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
Physical health refers to the functioning of the physical body. There are many different diseases, injuries and disabilities that can impair this functioning to a greater or lesser degree. Mental health refers to people’s emotions, thoughts and feelings. Generally a person with good mental health is able to handle day-to-day events and obstacles, work towards important goals and function effectively in society.
Our environment, local community, and local services and facilities, also shape our health and wellbeing. The biggest impact on health, wellbeing and life expectancy in the early twentieth century was having clean water, air and shelter. These improvements to our environment put an end to the infectious diseases that caused the most death and sicknesses.
Today, our major causes of death and sickness are what we call ‘lifestyle factors’. Heart disease, stroke, and many cancers can be reduced by being more physically active and eating a more balanced diet. Tobacco and alcohol use are also linked to many preventable deaths and injuries. Mental ill-health is also of concern and an area where more can be done in the community.
The World Health Organisation has a wealth of information about the key concepts that impact on the health and wellbeing of people.
What is council’s role in health and wellbeing
With exception of support provided to families with babies and some aged care support, Council’s role in promoting well-being is not the provision of ‘health’ services. Council’s role in public health focuses mainly on health promotion and prevention activities. We also work to minimise disease, illness and injury, reduce health and wellbeing inequalities, and support health-focused behaviours and environments.
In 2015, the Victorian Government released the Victorian Health and Wellbeing Plan 2015-2019 outlining the key priorities to improve the health and wellbeing of Victorians. Each Victorian local government is also mandated to develop a Municipal Health and Wellbeing Plan every four years. Banyule is one of a number of Councils who have chosen to meet our obligations to plan for the health and well-being of our communities within our existing Council Plan. The benefit of our approach is that health and wellbeing is integrated into the decisions Council makes – for example in the services we provide and how places and spaces are designed. For more information on Council’s strategies see the Council Plan.
The diagram below provides an overview of Council’s objectives, key directions and strategic indicators.
As a council, our responsibilities are to:
- Plan: Meet our legislated responsibilities to identify significant health issues in the community and work with other agencies and community groups to find ways to address these issues.
- Fund: Council is able to contribute its own funds to support the operation of services it provides directly, or to fund other agencies to provide much needed services.
- Advocate: We advocate for our communities to influence change and secure resources for the benefit of our communities.
- Provide services: Local governments in Victoria play an active and trusted role in the delivery of services to groups in the community.
What are we doing to improve health and well-being
The population of Banyule is changing. Our population is growing, ageing, increasingly diverse and multicultural, and spread across the socioeconomic scale. Council take into account demographic trends and evidence based approaches to enable planning for the health and wellbeing of the diverse populations within our municipality.
Council recognises that some of our communities experience barriers to participating fully in community life. In 2014 the Inclusion Access and Equity Framework was developed, outlining how we support Banyule’s diverse communities. The framework is supported by four specific plans:
- Multicultural Plan
- Disability Plan
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Intersex and Transgender (LGBTI) Plan
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Plan
We use three key strategies to work towards health and wellbeing, community participation and economic participation.
- Improving access and equity in Council services and practices
- Partnership with community organisations and advocacy
- Increasing community awareness
Each one of our plans is overseen and supported by a community-based advisory committee. These committees play a key role in providing advice and advocating to Council on important issues.
Council seeks to address the social determinants of health such as social, behavioural, economic and environmental factors by creating environments which foster participation and positive health behaviours, leading to better health outcomes. Our relationships with clubs, local organisations, neighbourhood houses and libraries provide a great network to support our work in addressing State and National health priorities.
What difference does this make
By creating supportive services and environments conducive to health we hope to positively influence people to improve their health and wellbeing. For example; we maintain playgrounds, parks and open spaces to provide green spaces which can be enjoyed by all community members. These spaces provide people with a place to play, exercise, socialise, and enjoy the natural environment – all activities that increase health and wellbeing. It is council’s responsibility to plan for these spaces, make sure there is good lighting, footpaths, and rubbish bins available so these places are safe, accessible and pleasant for everyone.
“Health Promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over their health and its determinants, and thereby improve their health.”
- World Health Organisation, 2005
A whole-of-life approach is taken to planning and service provision. This approach takes into consideration the differing needs associated with different stages and transition points throughout a person’s life.
We provide services for:
- Babies and families – Maternal and family support
- Young children – early years, kindergartens
- Youth and teenagers – youth programs, festivals
- Middle years – sporting grounds, social clubs
- Older adults – delivered meals, home help, supported day care
Council also support libraries, Neighbourhood Houses, leisure centres, as well as supporting a vibrant local economy and community.
Our work follows along a continuum; at one end of the scale we work at a community level, promoting wellness by providing health supporting environments and addressing the underlying issues that contribute to ill-health. At the other end of the scale, we work at an individual level, providing screening and support to those experiencing symptoms, and referral to treatment services. Health awareness and education plays a significant role in our work, training our staff to be aware of symptoms of poor health, and educating the community to look after themselves and to identify when they should seek help. Although Council does not have a role in the provision of treatment services, the availability of treatment services for the local community is an important advocacy area.
Find out more
Service and support information can be found across the health areas as listed. You will also be able to find out more about the actions we take that contribute to better health outcomes.
Mental health information, services and support
Information, services and support with respect to drug use in Banyule
Information, services and support regarding alcohol consumption.
Information, services and support tobacco and smoking.
Resources about heat health and being sun smart.
Nutrition information, services and support.
Information, services and support about keeping active.