Why voting is good for your health and our collective health
Did you know that civic engagement is associated with better psychological, physical and behavioural health, and well-being?
Activities that advance the public good, including voting, volunteering, and participating in civic organizations, all fall under the realm of civic engagement. What’s more, civic engagement can play a key role in raising awareness of and addressing community health.
Civic participation improves social capital, which is an important element of social inclusion—an imperative part of a healthy lifestyle. Strong social networks have a positive impact on our mental and physical health.
Research shows that health can impact whether people vote, and factors such as race, gender, and age, or education and income, can influence voter participation. Therefore, the social determinants of health should be a key consideration when we think about engaging everyone in civic participation. And they should be a key focus when we think about our future, too.
In Canada, we are fortunate to have the opportunities to use our voice to guide the direction and future of our communities through the act of voting. Whether an election is municipal, provincial, or federal, and regardless of your affiliation, party, values, or goals, we all share one thing—the right and privilege of democracy and having the ability to express our views with our vote.
And this is all good for our individual health, and our collective health.
Whether you’re an American in Canada, or a British Columbian, in the next few weeks you have a responsibility and a right to stand up for what you believe in. You have the privilege to use your vote to represent your voice. You can choose what matters to you, which policies are important, and what you want the landscape of BC to look like for you, your family, and your community.
While each party has their own platform and key issues of focus, health is always a significant area for both government and the public. When reviewing the platforms and making decisions about your voting direction, it’s important to think about what health means to you, and what you want the health of our province to look like. And, as we know good health is largely created outside of the healthcare system, it’s important to consider all aspects of the platform and each issue.
It’s not always easy to navigate the issues and consider the intersections of the various themes. There’s a lot to consider. So, we’ve curated a few of our previous blog posts (and check out our Decoding Public Health resources for more) to offer some guidance on the factors that we know can improve health, and that demonstrate the importance of thinking about health in relation to where we live, work, and play.
And if you’re not quite old enough yet to vote, now is the time to read, learn, understand, and discuss the issues so you’re prepared to use your vote in the future. Being active in your community at a young age promotes life-long civic participation.
Your vote is your voice, and your voice can empower your community and create positive health outcomes for all British Columbians. Individual actions have a ripple effect and create a wave of positive population health outcomes.
By using your vote, you can become a health ambassador in your community.
By using your vote, you can stand up for those who may not have the same opportunities.
By using your vote, you can Activate Health.