Health, vitality and happiness for all  

In the past seven years I have worked as manager of an intermunicipal social service. My motto is: ‘Everybody matters, no one is left on the side’. Health and vitality are essential to participate in society. As board member and secretary of the Active Health Foundation (AHF) I can make a valuable contribution to health, vitality and happiness for everybody.

The interconnectedness of participation, social inclusion and health

If we as society as a whole strive for a socially healthy and sustainable economy, this will contribute to our wellbeing.  In my experience wellbeing contributes undeniably to participation, ‘everybody matters’. An important activator of health and of participation is social inclusion, so ‘no one is left on the side’. That is why the AHF targets local and regional networks that enforce the social cohesion on the one hand and on the other hand contribute to health promotion by developing co-creation initiatives.

Curriculum vitae

The common element of all my jobs is the conditional meaning of health. Originally I am an educationalist and a BIG (Professions in the Individual Healthcare) registered healthcare psychologist. After my graduation I had several jobs as a HC psychologist: admission psychologist in the special education, HC psychologist at several educational consultancy agencies and teacher at the College of Orthopedagogics.  Within the counselling services I worked as competence manager. I also contributed to establish a psychodiagnostic centre and played a coaching role in education. After that a period of working in social security followed. Especially as manager of a social service I experienced the impact of unhealthy behaviour on vitality and participation, which made me realize that we should seize the opportunities that present themselves.

I am convinced of the power of awareness and positivity to help people make a choice for healthier behaviour in general. This conviction has determined my choices of secondary activities.  As a board member of Divosa, the association of managers in the social sector, I am involved in establishing Safe and Honest Service together with the A&O fund. As a board member of the Dutch Public Health Foundation / NPHF Federatie voor Gezondheid (Health Federation) , I contribute to the change from aftercare to pre-care. Finally, as a member of the Advisory Board of the Secondary Education in the Achterhoek region I try to make an active contribution to the mind-set of healthy behaviour and vitality in the context of upbringing and education.

There is still a lot left for us to do

My insight into health is that we still have a lot to do… The world around us is still centred around ‘illness thinking’ instead of ‘positive health thinking’.  A large group of people and especially those with a low SES (socio-economic status) status still have very little access to the insights of the value of health. In addition, looking from a behavioural view it is not made easy for us to make healthy choices. Just look at commercials of soft drinks, candy and fast food manufacturers; they all focus on the sense of belonging. Who does not want that…