Health in hard times

By |2009-03-12T09:00:00-04:00March 12th, 2009|Uncategorized|

Economic struggles affect more than the girth of our pocketbooks. Indeed, the loss of a job, stress from taking on more work or worrying about finances – or even the inability to afford health-affirming things like gym memberships or organic foods – can result in financial problems turning into health problems.
Take, for example, the millions of workers without jobs. The International Herald Tribune reported this week that unemployment in the U.S. is up to 8.1 percent – a 25-year high. Just last month, an additional 650,000 jobs were lost.
That means not only jobs were lost, but health care options for many and the money to afford necessary medicine and procedures that those workers may need.
Then, take a look at those who still have their jobs. Thankful as they are, workers are taking on more than ever before as fewer employees, frightened about their own job security, are forced to do more work.
Stress levels are high, paychecks are low and healthy lives are in danger as a result.
That, coupled with the fact that LGBT families (especially in Michigan) have decreased or non-existent benefits for their spouses and families, and our community is in quite a pickle.
Health insurance is becoming a luxury. Donations to our community centers and necessary organizations are dwindling. Affirmations reported not only a spike in volunteers as people are laid off, but also a dramatic spike in the number of people using their 12-step programs.
Given the dire outlook, it seems that health is losing its place on the list of priorities to things like getting or keeping a job, protecting our families and worrying about the future.
But on the contrary, staying healthy is more important than ever in tough times. Those who are stressed from work obligations need yoga or meditation to balance themselves out. Those who have lost their jobs need community and family support to keep them optimistic and positive.
In this Between The Lines health issue, we’re not just talking about taking up a sport or eating salads instead of pizza. We’re talking about health in hard times.
There’s Marcus Weatherspoon, who, in the face of cancer, decided not only to fight, but to enjoy life while he went through treatment. Now cancer-free, he wants to be a singer and spread his message of positivity to the rest of the world.
There’s the upcoming LGBT sports fair, where locals can learn about fun ways to get involved and make some new friends.
There’s information on health insurance, including agents who are there to help figure your perfect plan out and ways that you may be able to make it more affordable for yourself.
Then there’s our community – which could be the biggest part of a healthy life of all. From getting involved with sports teams to using Affirmations’ support groups to keep your chin up when things get rough, our LGBT community is here with us in wealth and in poverty, in sickness and in health.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.