The Polk County Wellness Coalition (PCWC) works on improving health and wellness throughout Polk County by helping to make healthy choices easier where we live, work, and play. Achieving and maintaining physical and mental health can be challenging, and it is critical to nurture both, as one can affect the other. To promote mental well-being, PCWC is launching a community-based initiative, known as BeWell.

BeWell supports health through happiness and meaningful relationships using proven resiliency tools. BeWell aims for a community that flourishes by practicing positive emotion, engagement, and positive relationships. Evidenced-based mental health resiliency tools (such as Random Acts of Kindness, Gratitude- 3 Good Things, Taking it Outside, Thank-You Letters, and Social Connectedness) are incorporated into daily life will create reserves of well-being that can be drawn upon when times are tough. Individuals and organizations are invited to participate!

The Polk-Norman-Mahnomen Community Health Board (PNM CHB) completed its Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), which was adopted by the PNM CHB on November 23, 2019. A Community Health Improvement Plan is a long-term plan, describing how the local health departments and a broad set of community partners and stakeholders plan to address needs identified in recent community health assessments. The 2020-2024 plan is based on a community health assessment, which was completed for Polk, Norman, and Mahnomen counties in 2017 and 2018. The top 10 health issues were identified from the assessment. Partners cultivated and established strategies for addressing the top three health priorities (focus areas) for 2020-2024. One of the top three health priorities for Polk, Norman, and Mahnomen counties, is improving mental health and well-being.

Positive mental well-being can increase social connectedness and can decrease the number of adults feeling hopeless, anxious, or loss of interest. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and Trauma and Hope Informed Care are a high priority for many agencies and school districts. In Polk County, we want to work to increase resiliency and coping strategies, while reducing the stigma around mental well-being.

Join Polk County Public Health and the Polk County Wellness Coalition as we #TakeItOutside and BeWell. Being outside can be calming, peaceful, and rejuvenating for the soul. #TakeItOutside is great for your overall mental well-being. What does #TakeItOutside look like for you? Take your virtual meeting outside, take lunch outside, or take your phone conversation outside. Be creative and see if you can TAKE (You fill in the blank____) OUTSIDE!

Join public health and the wellness coalition as they #TakeItOutside. Post a picture on Polk County social media and include the hashtag #TakeItOutside. They look forward to your photos and fun activities.

For more information on Take It Outside and other upcoming ‘BeWell’ initiatives, please contact Brenna Olson at Polk County Public Health at brenna.olson@co.polk.mn.us or by calling 218-281-3385.