Health promotion is all about helping people live healthier lives. It’s providing tools and knowledge to stay well and avoid getting sick. In remote areas where healthcare might not be as easy to access, health promotion is super important. It serves as a protective barrier against diseases and helps us feel our best. Much like regular maintenance for a car to prevent breakdowns, health promotion emphasises proactive measures over reactive responses.
Health promotion includes things like eating nutritious food, being physically active, getting regular check-ups, and avoiding harmful habits like smoking or excessive drinking.
Our Health Promotion Programs
SALSA Regional Program
At HealthWISE we’re dedicated to creating healthier communities. That’s why we are delivering the Students As Lifestyle Activists (SALSA) program. We’ve teamed up with experts from the Prevention Education and Research Unit (PERU) to bring SALSA to rural and regional NSW. This was made possible by the NSW Government’s ‘Our Region, Our Voice’ Regional Youth Investment Program, and partnerships with the University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health and four local public high schools.
What is SALSA?
Students As Lifestyle Activists (SALSA) is a peer-led mentor program designed to motivate students to increase physical activity and improve diet. It empowers students to become leaders and make better choices for their health. SALSA prepares students for the future through practical experience in communication and leadership.
It encourages high school students to lead healthier lives. It’s like one friend inspiring another friend to choose a nutritious snack instead of junk food.
How Does it Work?
The SALSA program follows a simple three-step process:
Step 1: Training Peer Leaders
University students are trained as SALSA Educators, who then train Year 9/10 students as SALSA Peer Leaders. These Peer Leaders are equipped with the knowledge and skills to empower their younger peers about healthy eating and physical activity.
Step 2: Lessons and Activities
SALSA Peer Leaders, in teams of 4-5, deliver interactive lessons to Year 7/8 students using videos, games, and activities. These lessons cover topics like Simple Changes, Movement Matters, Food Choices, and SALSA Actions.
Step 3: Setting Goals and Action Plans
All students are encouraged to create individual SMART goals and design a School Action Plan. This empowers them to take charge of their health and create a supportive environment for healthy choices in their school.
More Than Just Health Lessons
SALSA isn’t just about exercise and veggies; it’s also about understanding health and making good choices. When students know more about their health, they can make better decisions for a long, healthy life. Plus, SALSA shows how physical and mental health go hand in hand. Feeling good in your body and mind helps you do better in school and work.
Why is SALSA Important for Rural Communities?
Rural and regional communities often face unique health and employment challenges. SALSA plays a crucial role in addressing these issues by promoting health and wellbeing among young people, regardless of their socio-economic status. The program equips high school students with valuable work-ready skills like leadership, teaching, communication, and team building.
SALSA in Action: Making a Difference
This year, we trained 11 university students and 7 HealthWISE staff as SALSA Educators. Together, we made the program happen in four High Schools: Oxley High, Glen Innes High, Gunnedah High, and Narrabri High School. We are also helping schools keep the momentum going by assisting Year 8 students with their health plans and supporting Year 10 students to bring their action plans to life.
To make sure SALSA works well, we have created a team called the Regional Advisory Network. It’s made up of young people, educators, parents, and partners. They meet regularly to talk about how things are going and give us advice.
Building Healthier Communities Together
At HealthWISE, our vision is simple: we want to make our communities healthier. The SALSA program is our way of making that happen. By teaching high-school students how to be healthier and more confident, we are making a positive impact that will last a lifetime. Healthier students mean a healthier community for all of us.
Want to know more about how SALSA can make a difference? Contact our team today!