Basic Needs for Health & Safety as a Vital Condition
Physical and mental well-being starts with access to fresh air and water, nutritious food, and the security of a stable home. People also need healthy relationships - with freedom to express gender and sexuality - and a life free from violence, injury, and toxic stress. Access to routine and critical health care is also an important factor to maintaining health and well-being.
The ability for many American's to have their Basic Needs for Health & Safety met has been severely compromised during the COVID-19 pandemic and crisis. Half of the U.S. workforce is facing layoffs, and as a result, things like paying monthly rent and buying groceries have become more difficult for families. Lack of basic needs has led to higher levels of domestic violence, toxic stress, mental health problems, and other poor health outcomes. The loss of so many jobs has decreased access to healthcare, including mental health services, and has put people at risk for financially crippling medical bills. Community support systems have risen to meet some needs, but new ideas and better public policies are essential for the United States to recover and prosper moving forward.
This new report is a joint project of the CDC Foundation and Well Being Trust, coordinated with Community Initiatives and ReThink Health. The report acknowledges that we are now struggling and suffering through profound losses and ghastly experiences of systemic racism. Our resilience and humanity are being tested, yet we have the power to change course together. Communities across the country have an immense reservoir of energy, courage, and imagination. Our best hope for changing course is to organize local and national action around a single, unifying, measurable expectation: All people and places thriving—no exceptions. The report leverages the Vital Conditions for Well-Being framework to provide a "springboard" for communities in recovery and resilience that is imperative to this moment in time.
Find the full library of resources and tools coming out of collaborative work to develop Thriving Together in the library linked below, and scroll on for more resources to improve basic needs for health and safety in your community.
Opportunities to Improve Basic Needs for Health & Safety
Some of the most significant opportunities are
- Expanding access to healthcare and preventive services
- Improving support systems
- Fostering safer, more just communities
Stories for Inspiration
Explore the stories below to read interesting, engaging content about what is happening at the state, national, and local level to improve basic needs for health and safety.
Explore the data tools below to find data and related resources specifically relevant to basic needs for health and safety.
Explore the resources below that outline one or more policies that specifically seek to improve basic needs for health and safety.
Action & Dialogue Guides
Explore below to find replicable, actionable content that is easily adaptable as a strategy to improve basic needs for health and safety, as well as guides and tools for in-person and virtual dialogues.
About the Vital Conditions
Basic Needs for Health and Safety is one of seven interrelated “vital conditions” that comprise the Vital Conditions for Community Health and Well-being framework. The framework helps us understand the systems that produce equitable well-being for all, and opportunities to shift those systems and drive improvement. Learn more about the Vital Conditions framework.