When we talk about health, we are usually referring to “physical” health- or how well your body is feeling and working. It is important to know that there are many things that affect your physical health, and that all types of health (mental, emotional, social, and sexual health) are connected. There are many things that you can do to try to keep your body as healthy as possible, and you also have some rights that keep you protected.
- In DC, low-income people can receive health and dental insurance through the government.
- You have the right to receive confidential health services for sexual health visits.
- You have the right to obtain birth control, also known as contraceptives, without consent from your parents or guardians.
- Minors have the right to receive contraceptives at no-cost.
- You have the right to purchase progestin-only emergency contraception (Plan B One Step and its generics) without showing ID. Even though the package direction for generics say that it’s intended for use by women ages 17 or older, The Emergency Contraception Website.
What is health?
- The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." This means that you are healthy not just because you don’t have a cold, or because you don’t have a broken foot, but because you are able to have a good life in your body, mind, and your heart.
- It’s hard to be completely healthy in DC because there is a lot working against people. It’s hard to keep a good diet because food is expensive, it’s hard to keep your body safe because there is so much violence, and it’s hard to avoid smoking, drugs, and alcohol because there are not good mental health services.
Things you should know
There are things you can do to keep your body healthy that are easy to do, but one of the biggest ways to help yourself is by having a regular doctor, or a medical home.
When you’re young, it can feel like you don’t need to go to the doctor, but it’s important to go every year because it gets you into the habit of going, it helps you build a relationship with your doctor, and you can get early treatment for conditions that could get better. If you had a bad experience with a previous doctor- go to a new one!
Doctors can help you navigate all your body’s problems like:
- Do you eat a healthy balanced meal? Do you even know what that means? A doctor can help you plan a healthy diet, or refer you to someone who can.
- Do you exercise regularly? It’s important to keep a growing body active and moving, DC has lots of parks, and recreation centers where you can exercise, and play sports.
- Are you happy with the way your body is working? Maybe you have to use your inhaler every day, or your acne is acting out, or your hair is falling out, or your allergies are really strong.
If you want more information from local organizations working on these issues:
- Brainfood is a non-profit youth development organization in Washington, DC. Using food as a tool, Brainfood builds life skills and promotes healthy living in a fun and safe environment.
- Teens Run DC promotes the physical, social, and emotional well-being of underserved youth through a mentoring and distance running program.
- Drug Free Youth DC is your go-to online source for resources on drug-free living in the District.
Here’s where you should go if you want to seek health from a mental health or medical professional:
If you want to get involved in our health justice fight:
Speak Your Mind- share a message with us about your experiences with your health
Join the movement, by becoming part of our staff, or by helping us spread the word!