Communications Officer II
Deputy Governor's Office
Government of the Virgin Islands
Public Service Wellness Month begins today, October 3 and will feature daily challenges and three primary wellness events.
Employee Relations Unit Manager from the Department of Human Resources, Dr. Noreen Callwood-Lewis said Public Service Wellness Month is a great opportunity for public officers to come together and to learn and grow in wellness.
Dr. Callwood-Lewis said, “We have done this initiative annually. Before it became Public Service Wellness Month it was Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) Awareness Week, and we just extended it. We are going to be learning more effective wellness habits and encouraging Public Officers to be healthier.”
EAP Counsellor Dr. Albert Thompkins noted that the month will underscore the importance of the different types of wellness.
“The reality is [that] the EAP is designed to assist public officers with their mental health. In addition to mental health, we also want to bring awareness to overall wellness—spirit, soul and body,” Dr. Thompkins said, adding, “This month embodies that, in terms of having activities and different opportunities for the public service as a whole and pay attention to their own wellness because they are important.”
Acting Director of Human Resources, Ms. Kaisa Penn spoke about the motivation for holding the month-long event and stated that as a Public Service, and as a Territory, there has been much change in the last five years. “We have recognised throughout those last five years, more than we have before, that our health and our wellness are fundamental to who we are,” Ms. Penn said.
The Acting Director added, “For this, and other reasons, we recognise that it was very important as a Department of Human Resources for us to stop and say we need to make sure that public officers understand that they, as well as their health and wellness, are a priority, for the public service and themselves individually.”
The month of activities will launch with the Healthy by Design Wellness Fair today. The event will be a day of Wellness and Health Promotion which will take place at the Noel Lloyd Action Movement Park from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Areas of wellness that will be represented include Physical Fitness, Rejuvenation/Spas, First Aid, Health Checks, Nutrition, Mental Wellness, Dental Health, Sexual Health, Physiotherapy, Emergency Preparedness, CPR, and Fire Safety.
The second major event is the Wellness Walk/Run to be held in partnership with Gender Affairs, Ministry of Health and Social Development, in support of Domestic Violence Awareness and will take place on Saturday, October 15 at 5:00 a.m. The route will begin at Simm’s Mini Mall and follow along various areas throughout central Road Town.
The third and final big event for the month will be the Wellness Scavenger Hunt on Friday, October 21 that will focus on promoting mental and physical wellness and healthy competition. Teams will be required to complete various challenges to get a clue to the following site and challenge until they have visited all the sites and complete the entire challenge. The route for the Scavenger Hunt will be between Fish Bay to Nanny Cay. The hunt is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
There will also be Daily Health Challenges to engage officers throughout the month where they are encouraged to develop healthy habits by creating a routine of healthy practices.
The Daily Challenges include:
- Meatless Monday: Instead of eating any meat (chicken, fish, pork, beef, etc.) find creative food alternatives
- Take the Stairs Tuesdays: Choose to walk instead of drive (general vicinity) and take the steps instead of the elevator.
- Workout Wednesdays: attend creative workout activities that will be organised each Wednesday during the month of October
- Thirsty Thursdays: Consume a minimum of 1/2 gallon of water
- Fruity Fridays: Substitute a meal with fruits or eat as many fruits as you can
For more information, persons can contact the Employee Relations Unit/Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) at 468-4352/468-9889. The EAP Programme is a counselling-based confidential service available for Public Officers to help them address a wide range of personal and work-related issues.