This blog has been authored by SurroundHealth Guest Blogger, Samantha Rodriguez.
Novelist Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “A friend is a present you give yourself.” A new SurroundHealth article, Creating Community and Finding Shangri-La, suggests that this “present” may be health. Written by SurroundHealth member Tammy Pilisuk, MPH, the article reflects on episode 4 of the PBS Designing Healthy Communities series, entitled Searching for Shangri-La. The focus of the episode surrounds the value of community and its links to health.
For the author, community and social support is a subject that has taken the front seat in her life for many years. In her article, she resurfaces concepts from a book written by her father as well as reflects on volunteer work she completed at a nonprofit. The information from these two resources creates a clear vision of the importance of social support, connectedness, and their roles in creating healthier living. When reflecting on the episode, she talks about the “Roseto Effect” (named after the town analyzed), which suggests that if you feel a sense of community among friends and neighbors, you are going to be healthier.
So, why is this important? Because there is so much that can be done in our communities to promote social connectedness, and in turn promote healthy behavior changes. She further explains the significance of this topic in the realm of public health goals, which include fighting obesity. Pilisuk emphasizes that once the value of social relationships is recognized, then connections will start to form. Connections can be as simple as joint leisure activities and social networking. Read more to see how you can begin building Shangri-La in your community today!