This is Public Health

Medical record

Residents of Louisiana and other Delta states face significant health challenges, particularly with obesity and diabetes, according to new data compiled by the Delta Regional Authority.

The authority recently introduced an online tool that allows residents and public health leaders to track regional health data to develop health solutions for the region served by the authority — Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missuori and Tennessee.

The authority’s Healthy Delta Research Database provides reports of health and other major community indicators broken down by state and parish or county.

Click here to find out more.

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.

Instructor Taking Exercise Class At Gym

While we all know that exercise leads to health benefits, exactly how working out leads to mental or cognitive improvement has remained a mystery. If you’re curious to see how breaking a sweat can lead to better brain power, check out this great article from Scientific American.

behavioral-health

The Healthcare Journal of New Orleans had a great story in it this week about mental health issues still being prevalent in Katrina survivors more than 6 years later.

“Survivors of Hurricane Katrina have struggled with poor mental health for years after the storm, according to a new study of low-income mothers in the New Orleans area. The study’s lead author, Christina Paxson of Princeton University, said that the results were a departure from other surveys both in the design and the results. The researchers were able to collect data on the participants before Katrina and nearly five years after the August 2005 storm, finding a persistence of poor mental health and gaining insights into how different types of hurricane-related stressors affect mental health.

The study revealed continued high levels of post-traumatic stress symptoms in contrast to other long-term studies that suggested faster recovery, said Paxson who is Princeton’s Hughes-Rogers Professor of Economics and Public Affairs and dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. “I think the lesson for treatment of mental health conditions is don’t think it’s over after a year. It isn’t.”

In addition to helping mental health professionals aid survivors of Hurricane Katrina and other disasters, the research may guide policymakers in addressing areas that had a significant impact on the women in the study, such as home damage and rebuilding. Due to the makeup of the sample, Paxson cautioned that the study’s results cannot be assumed to apply to the population as a whole, but they shed light on natural disasters’ effects on a particularly vulnerable group.

The paper appears in the January issue of the journal Social Science and Medicine.”

To check out the story on the Healthcare Journal of New Orleans’ website, click here.

Story credit – Healthcare Journal of New Orleans.

soldier

As policy makers call for better coordinated healthcare for veterans, the Pentagon’s National Suicide Prevention Hotline for veterans reached a record 14,000 calls in April.  Because prevalent suicide plagues the military, family and friends of veterans should look out for signs of depression, especially in those who’ve just returned from duty. Telltale signs for veterans include feeling hopeless or purposeless, unbearable pain and feeling like a burden to others. If you or someone you know is a veteran in need of support, the Pentagon’s hotline, 1-800-273-8255, offers free, confidential counseling. Read more about what the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee says about the level of care provided to veterans. For Louisiana residents who may be experiencing crisis, anxiety or depression, the Louisiana Spirit counseling hotline, 1-866-310-7977, is also available 24/7.

mississippiriver

News of a potential disaster, such as flooding from the Mississippi River, can trigger anxiety, stress and depression in otherwise healthy people. But the risk is even greater for those who have experienced disasters firsthand. Free confidential counseling is available over the phone to Louisiana residents who are suffering stress, anxiety or depression as a result of rising river levels and flooding caused by the opening of spillways. Phone counselors offer information and coping tips on identifying and dealing with signs of stress. Referral assistance to mental health services may also be provided. If you or a loved one is in need of professional assistance to help cope with stress, anxiety or depression, call the Louisiana Spirit hotline at 1-866-310-7977.