The goal of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (#NEDAwareness) is to shine the spotlight on eating disorders by educating the public, spreading a message of hope, and putting life-saving resources into the hands of those in need. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness and will affect 30 million Americans at some point in their lives, but myths and misinformation still keep people from getting the help they need. Eating disorders are serious conditions that can have a profound mental and physical impact, including death. This should not discourage anyone struggling—recovery is real, and treatment is available. Statistics on mortality and eating disorders underscore the impact of these disorders and the importance of treatment.
The NEDA Helpline is available Monday-Thursday from 9AM to 9PM ET, and Friday from 9AM to 5PM ET. Contact the Helpline for support, resources and treatment options for yourself or a loved one.
You may reach the NEDA helpline by calling (800) 931-2237.
Helpline volunteers are trained to help you find the information and support you are looking for. Reach out today!
Monday, February 4th is World Cancer Day, when organizations and people around the world unite to raise awareness about cancer and work to make it a global health priority. An estimated 9.5 million people worldwide were expected to die from cancer in 2018 – about 26,000 cancer deaths a day – and that number is predicted to grow.
How people can help themselves:
Make healthy lifestyle choices that include avoiding using tobacco products, getting plenty of physical activity, eating a healthy diet, limiting alcohol, and staying safe in the sun.
Know about the signs and symptoms of cancer and early detection guidelines because finding cancer early often makes it easier to treat.
Share stories about their own cancer experiences, communicate with decision-makers and join support groups to help make positive change for all people affected by cancer.
When possible, use work and other daily activities during and after cancer treatment as opportunities to maintain normality, routine, stability, social contact, and income.
How people can help others:
Support cancer patients and survivors with the physical and emotional impacts of cancer even after treatment ends.
Call on government leaders to commit adequate resources to reduce cancer deaths and provide a better quality of life for patients and survivors.
Educate themselves and others about the link between certain lifestyle behaviors – including smoking, poor diet, and lack of physical activity – and cancer risk.
Dispel rumors and myths that lead to stigma and discrimination against people with cancer in some communities.
Encourage schools and workplaces to implement nutrition, physical activity, and no smoking policies that help people adopt healthy habits for life.
Every year, approximately 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner. It is also known that 3 in 4 parents have never talked to their children about domestic violence. Teen dating violence (TDV) is defined as a pattern of abuse or threat of abuse against teenaged dating partners, occurring in different forms, including verbal, emotional, physical, sexual and digital. TDV occurs across diverse groups and cultures. The National Dating Abuse Helpline provides 24-hour national web-based and telephone resources to help teens experiencing dating abuse. Young people (as well as concerned friends, parents, teachers, clergy, law enforcement, and service providers) anywhere in the country can call toll free, 1-866-331-9474, text “loveis” to 22522, or log on to the interactive website, loveisrespect.org, and receive immediate, confidential assistance.
National Wear Red Day® is Friday, February 1, 2019! — Wear red to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease and save lives.
February is American Heart Month, an ideal time to remind everyone to focus on your heart health. Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, remains the leading global cause of death with more than 17.9 million deaths each year.
The biggest part of living healthy comes down to simply making healthy choices. While you can’t change things like age and family history, the good news is that even modest changes to your diet and lifestyle can improve your heart health and lower your risk by as much as 80 percent.
January, National Winter Sports TBI Awareness Month, calls attention to the fact that although sports injuries contribute to fatalities infrequently, the leading cause of death from sports-related injuries is traumatic brain injury. Sports and recreational activities contribute to about 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among American children and adolescents. For more information about traumatic brain injury, go to http://www.biausa.org.
As the Senior Physician Executive for Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital, Mike Murnik, MD has seen the devastating effects of Maine’s opioid crisis first-hand. With opiate-related overdose deaths rising in the state over the last five years, Dr. Murnik knew there was a need for more treatment services in Hancock County and western Washington County, and a need to increase access to those services.
“People were dying,” Dr. Murnik said. “But it was really hard for them to get into treatment.”
It was a concern shared throughout the community. A series of monthly meetings began four years ago to discuss the crisis. Held at Ellsworth Town Hall, these meetings bring together law enforcement, healthcare providers, substance abuse counselors and other community partners who are attempting to mitigate the crisis. Through these ongoing discussions, they developed an idea: a treatment hub where people dealing with opiate use disorder could get stabilized and then move out into the community for maintenance and counseling.
In April, this idea became a reality: Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital, Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital in Ellsworth, and MDI Hospital in Bar Harbor partnered with the Aroostook Mental Health Center and Healthy Acadia to open the doors of the Downeast Treatment Center to the community.
The Downeast Treatment Center provides outpatient treatment for patients with Opiate Use Disorder through a “hub and spokes” care model. At the Center – the hub – those affected receive counseling and medication assisted treatment (MAT). Once they are stabilized and improving, these patients are connected with primary care provider “spokes” in the community who can continue ongoing care, including MAT. As a result, treatment can be initialized more immediately, and the patient has more support as they taper off their medication, and after.
Dr. Murnik said this model is particularly helpful given the nature of the disease.
“The Center is set up to help with relapses which can be typical because this is a chronic, relapsing disease,” he said. “If a person falls off the wagon and starts using again, they can go back to the hub for stabilization, and then go back out to the spokes.”
After only seven months, several patients have been successful after entering the hub and progressing to the spokes.
“One graduate is now stabilized and applying for a job,” Dr. Murnik said. “And another is completely off of Suboxone. They’ve tapered off completely and are doing well so far.”
Dr. Murnik, however, acknowledges there’s still more work to be done. His team is leading other initiatives to fight this epidemic, including implementing a model for initiating treatment in the emergency room that was pioneered by Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut.
Dr. Murnik said ongoing community collaboration will continue to be vital in combatting Maine’s opioid crisis.
“Addressing this as a community is key,” he said. “This problem is as prevalent as diabetes, but there’s still such a stigma. We need to figure this out and continue to meet people where they are. We have to make it easier to provide treatment and medications.”
Dr. Murnik is up for the challenge and making positive changes.
“Our providers tell me that some of the most rewarding work they do is MAT, seeing people turn their lives around and get back to their families and back to work. The DETC and the Hub and Spokes Program make it easier for providers to do that work and for community members in need to get into treatment.”
Significant progress has been made in the AIDS response since 1988, and today three in four people living with HIV know their status. But we still have miles to go, as the latest UNAIDS report shows, and that includes reaching people living with HIV who do not know their status and ensuring that they are linked to quality care and prevention services. So, don’t wait, this World AIDS Day, take a quiz to help you know your status at https://www.kff.org/quiz/hivaids-quiz/.