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Chaffee County Public Health Launches the Happiness Project

Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH) is excited to announce that it is launching The Happiness Project, an initiative to foster more happiness, optimism, and hope in light of today’s societal challenges.  After observing great distress, turnover, and burnout in many of the nation’s public serving sectors, in which Chaffee County is no stranger, CCPH sees this as an opportunity to turn a concerning situation around, embracing gratitude, appreciation, and positivity in both our personal and professional environments.  Research by the Harvard School of Public Health indicates that happiness, optimism, and hope are all qualities that have an impact on overall physical health. CCPH intends for this initiative to give our community a boost in its health and wellness over the next year.

To kick off the initiative, CCPH worked with local subject-matter expert on happiness, Rob Dubin, to host a presentation on how optimism and hope can be powerful on one’s mental and physical health and wellness and can lead to a healthier work experience as well.  The presentation, “Happiness- How to create more of it for your employees, your family, and you!” provided several simple yet effective strategies on how to boost happiness, cultivate optimism, and build resilience on August 8th. About 75 county, city, and town leaders and employees, along with community health stakeholders, attended the Lunch and Learn presentation which was followed by questions from the audience. It was also recorded so that staff who were not able to attend have a chance to view it at a time that is convenient for them. Surveys were conducted at the end of the presentation, and overwhelmingly, the feedback has been positive. Overall, attendees would like to see more trainings and presentations around these topics in the future. To find out more about Rob Dubin, his website is:  https://www.robdubin.com/

CCPH is currently planning out a schedule of opportunities for county/city/town/community partner workforce to participate in over the next year in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s CO-CARES (Colorado Alliance for Resilient and Equitable Systems) program which has been established to support people who helped Colorado through the pandemic- and continue helping every day. Another facet of The Happiness Project is that CCPH is working with the Lyda Hill Institute on Human Resilience to bring in-person professional development opportunities to the county. In addition, CCPH will be promoting a new program that aims to build greater overall community resilience.  Details will be shared throughout the county as soon as they are finalized.

Recently, CCPH’s Director, Andrea Carlstrom, wrote a personal blog on CCPH’s Chaffee Resources website related to happiness and health. The blog is named What the Health, and the entry can be found at: https://www.chaffeeresources.com/happiness-is-health-by-andrea-carlstrom-director-of-ccph/.  CCPH urges members of the public to subscribe to the blog which members of the Chaffee County Health Coalition take turns submitting entries to.

CCPH’s call to action is for community members, local businesses, schools, employers, and county/city/town leadership to participate in The Happiness Project. Pay it forward in line at your local coffee shop, treat your teammates to lunch, give someone who you see struggling a helping hand or a listening ear, and help CCPH spread happiness at a time when many of us need it both personally and professionally. If businesses, groups or individuals choose to participate in The Happiness Project, please consider using the hashtag #spreadhappiness and share your efforts with CCPH by emailing director Andrea Carlstrom or deputy director Emily Anderson. We also have The Happiness Project stickers that your organization can use.

“Whether it was during the height of the pandemic, the pinnacle of the Decker Fire, or just on a day to day basis, I am constantly reminded how resilient and kind our county truly is. And, times are tough for so many, whether on the job or at home. Let’s rally together as a county to lift up our co-workers, our service providers, and our friends and neighbors.  Please join us by participating in The Happiness Project,” says Andrea Carlstrom, Chaffee County Public Health Director.