Insights from EWMD International Conference 2023

Is there a link between psycho-physical well-being and financial independence?

This theme was discussed by various professionals from different backgrounds during the "PREVENT" workshop organised as part of the EWMD International Conference held in Turin last 21st October.

Dr. Annalisa Tancredi, obstetrician and gynaecologist at the Sant'Anna Hospital in Turin, pointed out that prevention not only reduces mortality and disease rates, but also increases productivity and strengthens the economy. Protecting women's health means protecting global health, as women play a social role that cuts across all generations.

The same concept was further explored by Maria Ciccone, haematologist and oncologist at the University Hospital of Ferrara. As it is probably known, caregivers are mainly women. But the consequences of this "choice" are manifold and go beyond giving up one's job (for example, caregivers are more likely to be depressed compared to those without caregiving burden). Therefore, it is indispensable to take care not only of patients, but also to consider caregivers. This means assessing their situation and needs so as to preserve their well-being and provide them the necessary support both during their loved one's illness and in the separation and bereavement phase. When integrated into the care team, the caregiver feels less lonely and inadequate and is at a lower risk of developing physical or psychological disorders.

Dr. Adriana Albini, Vice-President of EWMD Italy and collaborator at the European Institute of Oncology, provided basic advice for physical well-being (not smoking or quitting if you do, moderating alcohol consumption, eating a varied and healthy diet, doing physical activity) and then recalled that cultivating love and friendship, resting, sleeping, practising sport, exercising the brain and networking are equally important factors for psychological well-being.

Maria Cardino, Social Services manager, Human Resources manager and Facility manager at Turin Social Services Department, talked about burn-out at work and how to prevent it through professional recognition and, as simple as it may seem, through dialogue.

Finally, Judge Fernanda Cervetti emphasised that investing in personal and psycho-physical well-being not only allows to prevent potential health problems, but also strengthens the ability to earn, save and invest wisely. Actually, if neglecting physical health can lead to chronic illnesses, and if mental health problems can affect one's ability to work, by ceasing to prioritize the needs of those around us and recognising our own needs instead, we put ourselves in a position to excel in the field in which we have chosen to work.

Knowledge and awareness go hand in hand and together they enable empowerment, because taking care of one's health also means making choices on which our happiness depends.