What is A Public Health Initiative?
A public health initiative refers to a targeted and organized effort by governmental or non-governmental entities to promote and improve the health and well-being of a specific population or community. These initiatives typically focus on preventing and controlling health issues, promoting healthy behaviors, and addressing factors that contribute to health disparities and challenges.
Public health initiatives often involve collaboration between various stakeholders, including government agencies, healthcare providers, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and community leaders. The ultimate goal of these initiatives is to improve a specific set of health outcomes and quality of life for a targeted group of individuals and/or communities, while also reducing healthcare disparities and promoting health equity.
What Difference Does Soaring Spirits Hope to Make?
The aim of Soaring Spirits Public Health Initiative is to increase meaningful, timely, grief literate support for widowed people in a specific geographic area. Our plan is to provide training and customized resources for a variety of entities, agencies, organizations, and businesses that interact with widowed people.
When Will this Public Health Initiative Begin?
SSI is in the very early planning stages of this initiative. We have identified some key partners with whom we are currently testing our training tools and resources. Our goal is to raise one million dollars for research and development to establish a scalable and sustainable model for the initiative that can be replicated in other geographical locations, and to ensure that the current SSI programs are prepared for exponential growth. Our fundraising campaign will begin in 2023 and extend through 2024. Our hope is to launch our pilot program in 2025.
Early Public Health Initiative Details
- Use a public health initiative (PHI) model to facilitate the coordination of public and private entities within a chosen geographical location whose work intersects with widowed people
- Increase the grief literacy among all involved organizations to maximize the quality of their interactions with widowed people
- Provide all involved organizations with tools and resources to enhance the support a widowed person receives
- Increase the probability that a given widowed person in the geographical area receives high quality, effective support
- Lack of appropriate support for and acknowledgement of their grief has devastating effects on a widowed person, their family, and their community. This has been shown to contribute to an increase in complex, extended grief, less engaged parenting and an increase in unhealthy coping skills, such as drinking, drug use, self-harm, and isolation.
- The ripple effects of lack of or poor quality support impacts family units, the healthcare system, social services, and the business community.
- Our aim is to improve the mental, physical, and emotional health of communities through a targeted outreach to widowed people and those who interact with them.
- The PHI will be piloted in Simi Valley, California which is the home base for Soaring Spirits International. Other geographic locations will be added based on yet to be determined criteria.
- Research and development for the PHI in Simi Valley will ideally begin in January of 2024 with the official launch of the PHI beginning in January of 2025.
- Soaring Spirits’ fifteenth anniversary gala provided unique community connections with local governmental agencies who have been inspired by the work of Soaring Spirits.
- Our pre-existing partnership with Adventist Health Simi Valley has paved the way for the development of a pilot training and outreach program with the Simi Valley Police Department.
- Our existing relationships with the Simi Valley City Council offer the access needed to undertake research and development within the Simi Valley area and will play a key role in putting the PHI in front of local decision makers.
- Research rates the death of a spouse or partner as the most stressful life event a person can experience. (Holmes and Rahe Stress Inventory)
- Choosing to test the impact of a public health initiative on grief by focusing on a specific supportive relationship provides data, experience, and motivation for addressing other types of grief.
- Focusing our efforts on addressing the most stressful life experience provides the opportunity to have a significant impact any given the community.
- Soaring Spirits has been a trusted partner for widowed people for fifteen years.
- We serve the largest network of widowed people in the world.
- Our research based programs are consistently effective in fostering resilience in widowed people.
- Our programs are widely accessible, secular and inclusive.
- The Soaring Spirits PHI will include grief literacy training for every entity involved including hospitals, first responders, hospices, and other civic and nonprofit agencies in a specific geographical region.
- The training will be developed and delivered by SSI teams made up of staff and key volunteers.
- Internal and External marketing materials will be provided for all those trained and customized for a variety of uses throughout the initiative.
- Once a determined number of agencies have completed the training cycle, the initiative will end with a Camp Widow Pop-up event. Our hope would be to evolve the event into a Regional Social Group, offering continuing connection for the widowed people in the identified community.
This initiative is the embodiment of SSI’s value of acting as a force for good for widowed people.