What do a cooperative transportation app, riding a bike, and mental health have to do with each other? Actually quite a lot. How would your mental health be if you couldn’t get where you need to go? What do you do on a bad day to clear your head? Is there any aspect of health more important than mental health?
MoveUP started as a way to improve patient transportation, but it didn’t take long to realize that all transportation is important. Though there are plenty of grant-funded or volunteer-driven systems for getting people to a doctor’s appointment, there isn’t much to help people just get to where they want or need to go. And that’s too bad. Because there is a lot more to life – a lot more to health – than going to the doctor. MoveUP is going to be a huge asset for our mental health, allowing everyone more options for getting around, whether it’s some important appointment or just something fun. There aren’t near as many grant-funded or volunteer-driven systems to help you get to something that’s nothing but fun, and that’s a shame. Because without a little fun, life’s not a lot of fun.
Cycling has long been a way for me to clear my head; it’s good for my mental health. Of course, that’s just me. The thing about stuff that clears your head is that it depends on the head. What’s good for me may not be your cup of tea. But we all have that thing – exercise, reading, knitting – whatever. And no matter who you are, your physical self is directly tied to your mental self.
People with chronic illness have a much higher rate of mental illness, and vice versa. It’s hard to be happy if your back is killing you. If you can’t do the things that make life fun, it’s pretty tough to stay chipper. And if you are suffering from major depression, all of the joy of life and the drive to do anything is sucked away.
The problem with our focus on delivery of care as a solution to our healthcare issues is that healthcare is much more about community health than delivery of care (I know, you have heard that from me once or twice). And that means that reliable, effective transportation to the things that help you clear your head is actually more important than treatment of mental illness. Don’t get me wrong: excellent care for people in need is priceless. But the ideal is that more of us find less need for that care.
And that may just mean a bit more fun is the best prescription.