This is Public Health

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If you need more incentive to exercise more and eat better, consider the results of two comprehensive new studies that found that an active and healthy lifestyle may be critical in helping to keep the brain healthy in old age. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, keeping weight down, not smoking and moderating alcohol consumption were all linked to a lower risk of dementia. And in those with dementia, exercise improved memory and helped people stay independent longer, a rigorous review of past studies found.

Click here to read more.

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We encourage moms to make their health a priority and take simple steps to live a safer and healthier life. While being a mother means caring for others, here are a few things moms can do to take care of themselves. Moms of every age can take steps to live a safer and healthier life.

Click here to read more.

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The Greater New Orleans Community Health Connection (GNOCHC) is an important program that provides preventive, primary care and mental health services to 53,000 residents in Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes who would otherwise be uninsured.  This critical program which has been operating since 2010 is in jeopardy of shutting down in August 2014 if the state does not continue the funding required for GNOCHC.

Without GNOCHC, the state will see approximately a $59 million increase in healthcare costs annually as patients seek non-emergency care in emergency rooms at local hospitals where they cannot be turned away.  Additionally, local businesses could be forced to lay off more than 300 employees that support the health care industry, including 121 people working in health care centers. The financial impact of this devastating cut to primary care and mental health coverage in the region is one that we simply cannot afford.

Click here to sign a petition requesting state legislators to save the GNOCHC program.

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America might be the bread basket of the world, but many Americans are hungry. Many families are coping with food insecurity, which means they are unable to acquire or are uncertain of having enough food to meet their needs because of insufficient money or other resources. The latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on household food security paints a sobering picture. Click here to read the full story, and find out how you can help.

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Many students spend up to 9 hours a day at school and are inactive most of that time. To meet the national recommendation that youth be physically active for at least 60 minutes daily, physical activity breaks are needed throughout the school day. Currently less than 50% of children (6-11 years) and less than 10% of youth (12-19 years) meet this national physical activity recommendation. It is challenging, in part, to meet this recommendation when children and youth spend more than half of their time at school and schools are finding it increasingly challenging to provide physical activity opportunities, owing to inclement weather, facility restrictions, testing schedules or other instruction-time limitations.

With many benefits of physical activity, including increased concentration, increased test scores, increased positive attitude and attendance, and decreased disruptive behavior, LPHI’s School Health Connection program has, for a second year, continued to increase physical activity in schools by incorporating movement into the classroom with physical activity breaks. Physical activity breaks are bursts of physical activity that are integrated into the school day; composed of a series of simple, easy-to-learn movements; and designed to require minimal disruption of routine.

Click here to read the full story.

The Times-Picayune recently published an intriguing article about high rates of depression among New Orleans middle-school students. The correlation between the youth ad their exposure to the high rates of violence in the city is hard to miss.

Check out the article below or click here to read the full story on NOLA.com.

“New Orleans middle-school students cite symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress at much higher rates than typical teenagers, according to data based on interviews collected by a local non-profit organization. Perhaps not surprising in a city with the highest murder rate in the country, the interviews conducted by the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies also showed the New Orleans children had elevated rates of witnessing violence and feeling concerned about their safety.

The screenings were part of a federally funded teen pregnancy prevention program the IWES has run in schools and churches since 2010. As part of the program, the group’s team interviewed children for over a year beginning in the summer of 2011 about their mental health, asking specific questions to figure out what could be contributing to their problems. . . .”

Hospital

“Calling it a step aimed at easing the local mental health care crisis, a state lawmaker told the New Orleans City Council Thursday that Children’s Hospital has agreed to reopen the New Orleans Adolescent Hospital in Uptown New Orleans.

The hospital, known as NOAH, was closed four years ago by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Department of Health and Hospitals.

Rep. Neil Abramson told City Council members that Children’s Hospital has agreed to reopen NOAH, which is near Children’s Hospital’s main campus. It is expected to offer both inpatient and outpatient services to mentally ill children.”

Read the full story and any updates on WWL-TV by clicking here.

Did you know that due to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Law of 2008, which is now being enforced, all Americans w/ health plans that include mental health benefits can finally expect equity in their coverage? Meaning a health plan may not enforce a treatment limitation or financial requirement on mental health/substance abuse benefits unless the same limit is placed on medical benefits.

Check out the full story from the Huffington post for more information by clicking here.

Coping With Anxiety

October 12th, 2012

Panic is an overreaction to a real (or even imagined) problem. It is a natural startle reaction that gets exaggerated and becomes prolonged. People often learn to panic because, in early childhood, panic can get us out of responsibilities. However, living with panic or anxiety every day can create a shutdown of feelings, so you’re in a state of shock. You cannot think clearly, make good responses or decisions.

Click here to read a great article from psychcentral.com that features several ways to help recognize and cope with anxiety.

“Treatment Works, Recovery Happens” is the theme of the Behavioral Health Day, which is planned for May 10 at 10:30 a.m. at the Louisiana Legislature. Behavioral health advocates from across the state will participate in events promoting the availability of effective addictive disorder and mental health services.

Bus transportation from Jefferson Parish and lunch will be provided for those interested in attending the event.

For more info on the event, check out the story from the Times Picayune here.