Chester County Introduces “Fresh Air, Self-Care Chesco”
Initiative Encourages Easy Outdoor Activity and Features Trails, Parks, Preserves, and Activities for Better Mental Health and Wellness
WEST CHESTER, PA – January 25, 2023 – Chester County announced the launch of “Fresh Air, Self-Care Chesco,” a campaign that encourages residents to practice effective self-care for better health and wellness through easy outdoor activity.
Introduced at today’s Commissioners’ Meeting, “Fresh Air, Self-Care Chesco” brings together the knowledge and services of the County’s Mental Health/Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Department (MH/IDD), Health Department, Parks + Preservation, and Planning Commission. It highlights the many public outdoor settings throughout the county.
Chester County Commissioners’ Chair Marian Moskowitz said, “Studies have shown that a ten-minute walk can boost energy, clear the mind, and raise spirits. So we want people to get outside – the ‘Fresh Air’ piece – and take a daily ten-minute walk – the ‘Self-Care’ piece. Doing more than that is great, but just a little fresh air activity can truly help.”
“Fresh Air, Self-Care Chesco” was borne out of recommendations made by the Chester County Youth Mental Health Coalition, a countywide initiative led by PA State Representative Christina Sappey. The coalition, comprised of state legislators, county officials, school administrators, the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU), local higher education institutions, and behavioral health providers, focused on youth mental health concerns identified by school district superintendents. One of these concerns led to establishing a family and community partnership workgroup, led by the CCIU, whose focus included ways to lower the risk of depression and promote faster stress recovery.
County Commissioner Josh Maxwell, a member of the team whose recommendation led to the “Fresh Air, Self-Care Chesco” initiative, said, “We have an amazing number of outdoor resources and activities across the whole county that everyone can tap into – and all are free to use. For example, the Chester County Trailfinder Guide is an interactive map showing every trail and who owns it – State, County, local municipality, or a homeowners association. Type in your home address, and the Guide will show trails literally right outside your front door.
“As outdoor activities and resources increase in the run-up to the spring and summer months, this will be reflected on the Fresh Air, Self-Care Chesco web page,” added Commissioner Maxwell.
The many trail, park, preserve, and outdoor activity resources available in Chester County can be found at the Fresh Air, Self-Care Chesco webpage, www.chesco.org/fresh-air.
“I am very pleased to see a recommendation from the Coalition enacted, especially during the winter months when anxiety and depression tend to increase,” said State Representative Sappey. “I am grateful for the County’s commitment to work on improving mental health, and I look forward to continued collaboration with the Chester County Commissioners going forward to help families struggling with access and treatment of mental health issues for their loved ones.”
Commissioner Michelle Kichline said, “Taking care of your mind is just as important as taking care of your body – something that is known by the medical community, and now, also known and appreciated by people of all ages. We plan to spread the word about Chester County’s wealth of outdoor options through this campaign and encourage schools, libraries, senior centers, afterschool groups, businesses, our municipalities, and more to promote Fresh Air, Self-Care Chesco.”