Individual vs. Community Health

An other-focused life improves health but our culture has gotten far away from that. What does it mean to focus on community health within a society that is focused so strongly on the individual? What is the health impact of our focus on individuals over community? In this podcast episode, I reference a few articles – here they are:

Highlights include:

4:00 – “Medical care only accounts for 10-20% of your health.” Source: National Academy of Medicine – Social Determinants of Health 101

5:17 – JM: “The word “lifestyle” indicates something really individual, like it’s a choice.

7:15 – Using a purpose in life and focusing on a greater good was motivating to patients. Source: Compassionomics

9:05 – JM: “Sometimes we can’t do for ourselves what we can do for someone else. If we focus on something bigger we can make things better for ourselves, as well.

9:30 – How modern American society has gone over the line in focusing on individual health vs focusing on the community.

9:50 – JM: “Our society puts so much emphasis on individual achievement.”

10:10 – Report from Harvard’s Making Caring Common Project – Source: The Children We Mean to Raise The Real Messages Adults are Sending about Values

11:59 – JM: “We have been addressing healthcare on an individual level for so long that we think it’s the way to do it. And now we’re seeing all these problems.”

12:30 – JM: “When people are in a society where no one is going to help you, people turn in on themselves. And no one believes that anyone is going to come and help them. And the more they believe that no one is going to come and help them, the more survival-focused they get. And while we might know intellectually that survival is going to come from helping everybody do better and not just ourselves, our survival instinct does not think that broadly.

14:03 – JM: “Profound corollaries with our political situation right now, where no one believes that helping another person is going to be of benefit to them. Everyone is trying to take care of their own, which is defined more and more narrowly.”

14:27 – The Tending Instinct by Shelley E. Taylor on the “tend and befriend instinct.”

15:08 – JM: “Tending and befriending has to happen when you are secure in your own base-level survival. It means that you have to trust someone enough that you think you can work together.”

17:24 – JM: “It’s not that kids can’t be kind, it’s that they can go either way based on what they see around them and how their needs are being met.”

18:06 – Self-driving cars and pedestrian fatalities

Leading with Health is hosted by Jennifer Michelle. Jennifer has a Master’s in Public Health and Epidemiology and is a certified EMT. As President of Michelle Marketing Strategies, Jennifer specializes in healthcare marketing. She is on a mission to help women find their voice so they can create a stronger, more responsive healthcare system.

Photo by Maxime Bhm on Unsplash