What Price Good Health?
The other day, the Silicon Valley Moms Blog network (which includes group blogs from the Deep South all the way to - yes - Canada) hosted a special topics day. The topic: children of the recession. The inspiration: a conference call with Katie Couric. Yes, that Katie Couric. But Katie Couric is - sort of - beside the point: it was the discussion about the effects of the recession on children and families, and the work that Couric and her team are doing to get the message out, that spurred everybody to writing. One point of discussion in particular that hit the nerves: the revelation that the recession is affecting the health of women, children and families in general.
As many of the participants in the Children of the Recession Topic Day - and many bloggers writing elsewhere - many families are cutting back on, and in some cases foregoing, health care in order to keep their heads above financial water. Some families are foregoing health care because their fortunes have sunk so far that those particular buoys are out of reach entirely - they just can't afford health care, dental care and the like. For some families, the impact comes in the form of not being able to afford healthy foods. For some families, it comes in the form of not being able to afford food at all. For others, it comes in the form of simply not being able to start or grow a family: birth rates are down and the rates of abortions and vasectomies are up.
Which, yeah. Our family isn't quite at the stage of going without healthy food - and as Canadians, the whole health care thing is taken care of (GO CANADA!) - but times are really tight, and I have been postponing that dental check-up and the economics of a growing family had more than a little to do with my husband's vasectomy. So I believe it when I read that the recession is directly impacting family health. Child health. Maternal health. HEALTH, period. But I don't know what we can do about it.
Well, that's not entirely true. We can talk about it. Keep the realities of how the recession affects us, and how it affects others, right at the forefront of our discussions. So that we can, maybe, recognize when members of our community - actual or virtual - need help. So that we're not ashamed to ask for help. So that we're all better empowered to give that help, in whatever form. For our own good, for our own good health.