Visualizing Well-Being: Basic Needs for Health + Safety

Published By
Community Commons

To create conditions for community well-being we must look back – at continuing, historic influences – and forward – to the major forces that shape current and future priorities. The Visualizing Wellbeing series explores the state of wellbeing in the United States through a collection of data visualizations. Each week we will explore one vital condition that comprise our framework for community wellbeing, developed in partnership through the Well Being Legacy Initiative. 

Basic Needs For Health + Safety

Basic Needs for Health and Safety is about our most practical requirements for physical and mental survival. Having enough of the things we cannot live without. Feeling safe wherever we go. Being free from substance misuse and toxic stress; and nurturing healthy babies. It is also about getting routine health care.

None of us can reach our full potential in the absence of several practical requirements for physical and mental survival. Each of us must have enough air, water, and nutritious food; a good balance of physical activity and sleep; and safe, satisfying sexuality, and healthy reproduction for those who bear children. We need to feel safe from violence, crime, and injury in our homes, schools, workplaces, and communities. Free from addiction, trauma, and toxic stress. And have routine health care to prevent and diagnose illness, and to care for when the inevitable arises.

Fuel for a Healthy Life

Food fuels us. Our physical and mental survival and flourishing depend on having adequate food and nutrition. While many factors influence our eating patterns (age, cost, region, culture, personal preferences and behaviors), getting the food and nutrition we need requires that we have access and means. The way our communities are designed, invested in, and their social and economic status has much to do with meeting our basic needs in terms of food and nutrition. The following visualizations aim to explore the interconnected concepts of food access, food security and healthy eating.

Safe Communities to Call Home

Abuse, violence and traumatic stress threaten our safety and compromise physical and mental health and wellbeing, at individual and community levels, with impacts that span generations. Although crime in the United States has decreased consistently over the past few decades, perceived crime remains high, exposures to trauma are alarmingly common, and a system notorious for injustice and mass incarceration persists. The following visualizations explore crime, incarceration and trust in police.

Care When it’s Needed

The U.S. healthcare industry evolved primarily to treat acute illness and injury, and is not currently built to deliver high-quality preventive and chronic care for all. As a result, many people lack consistent access to the routine care they need. Many barriers that prevent people from accessing care, including provider shortages, lack of quality insurance, cost, and cultural competency. The following visualizations explore multiple indicators of routine healthcare access for adults and children.