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June 22, 2017

Talking About Ticks

Outdoor living season is here and we are all outside more on a regular basis. However, just as we are more active in the summer, so are little critters such as ticks. Ticks are particularly problematic as they are very small, hitch rides easily, and spread disease such as Lyme disease. The number of Lyme disease cases in the U.S. has tripled since the 1990s and the number of counties in the Northeast and Upper Midwest considered high-risk for Lyme has increased by more than 300 percent, reports Rebecca Eisen, Ph.D. a research biologist at the CDC. The NY counties at highest risk for Lyme disease are generally downstate but the incident rate in upstate NY counties is increasing. According to the CDC, people get more tick bites and tickborne diseases from May to July than any other time of year. It is, therefore, important to take steps to protect yourself and loved ones (including pets) during this season as well as the warm months until snow flies. Ticks are tiny 8-legged creatures that can be very hard to see. Deer ticks, which carry the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, are especially small. The young nymphs are only the size of a poppy seed and the adult ticks are about the size of a sesame seed. Whether you work outdoors, enjoy your yard, hike in the woods, camp, or hunt, it is important to protect yourself from getting a tick bite. The CDC and NIH make the following recommendations: Avoid areas with high grass and leaf litter and walk in the center of trails when hiking. Wear long sleeves, long pants, and long socks when possible. Use repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours. Use products that contain permethrin to treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents or look for clothing pre-treated with permethrin. Treat dogs and cats for ticks. Dogs and cats are very susceptible to tick bites and to some tickborne diseases. They may also bring ticks into your home. Tick collars, sprays, shampoos, or monthly “top spot” medications help protect against ticks. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors to wash off and more easily find crawling ticks before they bite you. Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon returning from tick-infested areas. Parents should help children check thoroughly for ticks. Remove any ticks right away. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, add extra time. In addition, you may want to create a tick-safe zone to reduce ticks in your yard. The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station offers these simple landscaping ideas to help reduce tick populations: Remove leaf litter. Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns. Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to restrict tick migration into recreational areas. Mow the lawn frequently. Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents). Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees. Discourage unwelcome animals (such as deer, raccoons, and stray dogs) from entering your yard by constructing fences. Remove old furniture, mattresses, or trash from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide. If you find a tick attached to your skin, do not panic. Remove ticks easily with the following technique: Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouthparts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water. Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers. It is a good idea to keep the tick in a dry jar or sealed plastic bag and save it in the freezer for testing in case you develop symptoms of infection. Avoid folklore remedies such as "painting" the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible – not waiting for it to detach. Then monitor yourself or others for symptoms of infection for 30 days after the removal of the tick. Symptoms of infection are general flu-like symptoms, headache, fever, and in the case of Lyme disease, may include a rash that is at least 2 inches in diameter and expands over time. Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at UR Medicine Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have article suggestions or questions, contact Lorraine at lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

June 16, 2017

School is Out, Playtime is In

Don’t you miss that end of the school year feeling? No more pencils, no more books…you know the rhyme. Pure joy as you walk out of that school and know that for the next two months, you have total freedom! For most kiddos, the biggest concern is figuring out what to do with all that extra free time. Some will be super active and others will take it easy on the couch. While lazing around watching TV or playing video games may seem attractive, studies link couch potato behavior with weight gain and poor health. As our nation’s obesity rates continue to rise among school-age children, pediatricians and health experts are suggesting limiting all types of screen time and encouraging active, fun play. A 2007 American Journal of Public Health study reported that the body mass indexes (BMI – weight to height ratio) of more than 5,000 kindergartners and first graders increased by almost twice as much during summer break as compared with the school year. The combination of readily available food and sedentary behavior take their toll. Currently in Livingston County, there are school districts where 37% of the children are either overweight or obese. Nationwide, we are seeing a rise in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke in our youth because of the obesity epidemic. Keeping this in mind, summer is a great time to hit the reset button. As summer vacation starts, there is an opportunity to talk about the daily schedule – that is how much screen time, outdoor play time, friend time, and reading time. The key to getting your children and grandchildren to exercise more is to, not call it exercise! Instead, call it what it is, play time! Good-old fashioned play will naturally result in exercise and activity. Here are a few tips for incorporating more movement into your kiddo’s daily life this summer: Limit screen time. The American Pediatric Association issued the following guidelines for parents: 1) Screens should be kept out of kids’ bedrooms. 2) Limit entertainment screen time to less than two hours per day. 3) For children under two, discourage screen media exposure. Play as a family. If you tend to turn on the TV, Netflix, or watch videos in the evening, try a new routine. After dinnertime, take the whole family outside, play kickball, shoot some hoops, throw a Frisbee, or take the dog for a walk. Studies show that children, whose parents are active, tend to be more active themselves. Create some schedule and structure. While summer is meant to be downtime from the rigid schedule of the school year, some structure is still needed to prevent couch time temptation. Consider day camps, scheduled playdates, or simply a loose daily schedule for simple chores, outdoor play, and indoor quiet time. Keep a stash of toys. Parents need not spend a bundle. Often outdoor play toys can be found at garage sales or second hand shops for a reasonable price. Classic toys like kick balls, racquets, jump ropes, hula-hoops, bean toss games, and such will provide hours of fun and a variety of activity options throughout the summer. Play with other families. Just as some adults are extroverts and enjoy the company of others on a regular basis, so do some children. As the summer progresses, children may miss their friends from school. Inviting friends and families over for a game night or tag at the local park will provide much needed interaction for parents and children alike. Involve children in chores. Everyday chores keep kiddos active as well. Requiring children to do a small number of daily chores teaches responsibility, keeps the child active, and helps the household to stay in order. Depending on the age, a child can pick up toys, water the garden, weed, vacuum, dust, wash the dishes, paint, or clean cupboards. Be prepared for rainy days. Rain happens but with a little forethought, children can still be active. Musical chairs, dancing, games like Twister , or creating forts out of couch cushions and sheets are fantastic, creative ways to be active even on the rainiest of days. Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at UR Medicine Noyes Health in Dansville, NY. If you have questions or ideas for future articles, please contact Lorraine at lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or (585)335-4327. ... Read More

June 8, 2017

Sun Safety and Sunscreen Smarts

After a long, dreary, rainy spring, summer is finally here! Time to spend some time soaking up the sun. Unfortunately, some of us will overdo the sun thing and end up with sunburns, blisters, and pain. The consequence of unprotected skin can be skin cancer, a serious condition that takes 9,000 American lives per year. The latest statistics indicate that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), anyone can develop skin cancer regardless of age, gender, or race. 5 million U.S. residents were treated for skin cancer last year. So while it is great to spend time outdoors and enjoy the sunshine, it is important to protect your skin from the harmful rays. The average light-skinned person can stay in the sun with no protection for 15 minutes before starting to burn. Taking precautions, therefore, is important. These simple five steps will keep fun in “fun in the sun.” Step 1 – Cover Up – When possible, wear clothing and a hat to protect against harmful UV rays. Loose, light colored clothing will be cool yet protect you from sun exposure. Step 2 – Shade – Seek shade under an umbrella, tree, or shelter in order to reduce your exposure to UV rays. If you are at a ball game, out on the boat, or on the trail, consider carrying an umbrella to shade you. Step 3 – Sunscreen – Whether the day is sunny, partly cloudy, or very cloudy, it is important to apply sunscreen. Be sure to use enough - Follow the shot glass guideline. One ounce, which is about a shot glass full, is the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of an average size body. Do not forget to apply it to often-missed places such as the back of the neck, ears, and toes. Apply sunscreen to dry skin 30 minutes BEFORE going outdoors and reapply approximately every two hours, or after swimming or sweating. Don’t forget to coat lips with a SPF 30 or higher lip balm or lipstick. Also, check the expiration date on your sunscreen. It expires after 3 years. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends everyone use sunscreen that offers the following: broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays and a sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher plus water resistance. (At this point, there is no scientific evidence that a SPF higher than 50 is any more effective than a SPF of 50. Purchasing a SPF of 30 or 50 will work.) You should use sunscreen every day if you will be outside. Moreover, because the sun emits harmful UV rays year-round, apply sunscreen even on cloudy days when up to 80 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays can still penetrate your skin. Remember, snow, sand, and water increase the need for sunscreen because they reflect the sun’s rays. Step 4 – Hydrate – Warmer temperatures cause us to sweat more and become dehydrated. Travel with a water bottle at all times to stay hydrated. Step 5 – Shades – Your eyes need protection from the sun too. Wear sunglasses that protect your eyes against UVA and UVB rays. Two more tips for preventing skin cancer: Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look tan, you may wish to use a self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it. Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything changing, itching or bleeding on your skin, see a board-certified dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early. For more information on skin cancer, sunscreens, and protection visit the American Academy of Dermatology website at https://www.aad.org/media/stats/prevention-and-care/sunscreen-faqs or the CDC’s site at http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/call_to_action/index.htm. Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at UR Medicine Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have questions or suggestions for future articles, she can be reached at lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

June 2, 2017

Farm Market Mania

The first crops of the season are sprouting up all over upstate NY. Fresh lettuce, spinach, peas, garlic scapes, and more can be found at roadside stands and farm markets. These local delicacies are sweet, crisp, and chock full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients. The taste cannot be beat and the price is often below super market numbers. Nutrition.gov lists these top 10 reasons for visiting farm markets this season: 1. Freshly picked, in season produce is at its peak in flavor and nutrition. Produce in most grocery stores has traveled an average of 1500 to 2500 miles to get there. Every hour that food sits after harvest, it loses nutrients and flavor. When you buy local, the produce is often picked the same day, which means it is fresher, crisper, and better for you. 2. Support your local farmers and economy. You can help new and smaller farmers be successful and save farmland in your area. Furthermore, you are supporting your local economy and neighbors. 3. Fresh fruit and vegetables are full of antioxidants and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are naturally occurring plant chemicals that keep plants healthy and disease free. Those same plant chemicals help humans ward off disease and boost immune systems. 4. It's a great way to get your kids involved. Farm markets are nature’s classroom. The littlest ones can learn colors and quantities. Preschoolers and school-age kiddos can learn veggie and fruit names as well as how to pick out fresh, ripe produce. Once you are home, involve the children in washing, cutting up, and preparing the food. When children are involved in the food preparation process, they are more likely to eat the meal! 5. Supporting your local farmers market strengthens your community. Meet your local farmers; learn about foods grown in your area and catch up with friends and neighbors while stocking up with local goods. According to a 2012 Psychology Today web article, hanging out with peeps in your own community fosters a sense of well-being and belonging. Farm markets are community-meeting places. Stop by one, you are bound to run into someone you know. 6. Farmers markets offer foods that align with MyPlate guidelines. Visit ChooseMyPlate.gov and buy foods to fit the daily intake recommendations for veggies, fruits, protein, and carbs. Visit different booths to pick up seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as local dairy, grain and protein products so you can build your healthy plate. 7. Farmers often have recommendations for preparing their products. Chat it up with the local vendors and get their ideas for preparing their produce and products. 8. You can try a new fruit or vegetable! Have you ever tasted gooseberries, ground cherries, or garlic scapes? Many farmers markets offer lesser known fruits and vegetables, providing a variety that can be both tasty and nutritious. 9. SNAP and WIC benefits are accepted at some farmers markets. 10. Farmers markets are easy to find. Go to: http://www.fingerlakeswest.com/eat/farm-markets to find a listing of Livingston County Farm Markets. In addition, keep your eyes open for local roadside stands. Lorraine Wichtowski is community health educator at URMC Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have questions or suggestions for future articles, contact Lorraine at lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

May 26, 2017

Stroke Awareness and Prevention

Stroke by the Numbers: Stroke accounts for 1 of every 20 deaths in the US. Stroke kills someone in the US about every 4 minutes. Each year, about 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke. Approximately 610,000 of these are first attacks, and 185,000 are recurrent attacks. Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability in the US. (source: heart.org) 15% of all ischemic strokes (the most common type of stroke) now occur in adolescents and young adults. There has been a 44% increase in stroke hospitalizations among young people over the last decade. (source: stroke.org) The numbers above are startling but none more than the last two that point out stroke is occurring at younger ages. Because strokes are often more disabling than fatal, the impact is particularly brutal to any young person who suffers a stroke. Many will suffer long-term disability or memory loss. Financial earnings over a lifetime and the ability to interact effectively with family and friends will often be severely diminished. Understanding the risk factors, and warning signs is critical; however, the best-case scenario for everyone, young and old alike, is prevention. Stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. Blood carries oxygen and when the brain is deprived of blood rich oxygen, brain cells die. In fact, nearly two million brain cells die each minute a stroke goes untreated. There are two basic types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. 87% of strokes are ischemic. An ischemic stroke occurs when a clot or a mass blocks a blood vessel, cutting off blood flow to the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a weakened blood vessel ruptures, spilling blood into the brain. A TIA (transient ischemic attack) often called a “mini stroke” is a blockage but is it temporary. TIAs look like a stroke but the symptoms usually last less than five minutes. People are at risk for stroke primarily because of high blood pressure and obesity although there are other risk factors including smoking, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, stress, and a sedentary lifestyle. According to the National Institutes for Health, 80% of strokes can be prevented. This is because high blood pressure and weight can be controlled. 77% of people who have a first stroke have blood pressure higher than 140/90 mmHg; however, almost 20% of American adults with high blood pressure do not know they have it. Knowing your blood pressure number is very important in the fight against stroke. To maintain healthy blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke, physicians will often prescribe medications and advocate for a healthy lifestyle including weight management. A recent Harvard Health report states that controlling your weight is an important way to lower stroke risk. Excess pounds strain the entire circulatory system and can lead to health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and obstructive sleep apnea. Losing as little as 5% to 10% of your starting weight can lower your blood pressure and other stroke risk factors. The authors make the following suggestions to lower your risk factors: Move more. Increase your everyday activity wherever you can — walking, fidgeting, pacing while on the phone, taking stairs instead of the elevator. Skip the sipped calories. Sodas, lattes, sports drinks, energy drinks, and even fruit juices are packed with unnecessary calories. Try unsweetened coffee or tea, or flavor your own sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime, a sprig of fresh mint, or a few raspberries. Eat more whole foods. If you eat more unprocessed foods — such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains — you will feel full longer because these foods take longer to digest. Plus, whole foods are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber and tend to be lower in salt — which is better for your blood pressure, too. Find healthier snacks. Snack time is many people's downfall — but you don't have to skip it as long as you snack wisely. Try carrot sticks as a sweet, crunchy alternative to crackers or potato chips, or air-popped popcorn (provided you skip the butter and salt and season it with your favorite spices instead). Finally, recognizing the warning signs and calling 911 are crucial when it comes to limiting the severity of a stroke. Literally, every minute counts. Prompt treatment can save brain tissue and limit the severity of the stroke. The American Stroke Association promotes the F.A.S.T. acronym to help people remember what to do: F – FACE DROOPING –have the person smile – is one side drooping? A – ARM WEAKNESS – have the person raise his or her arms – is one arm drifting down? (is one side of the body not responding or moving properly) S – SPEECH DIFFICULTY – have the person repeat a phrase – is the speech slurred? Or is there difficulty in finding words? T – TIME TO CALL 911 – call 911 IMMEDIATELY if you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms To learn more about stroke prevention, symptoms, and treatment, go to: www.timeisbrainatnoyes.org or http://www.strokeassociation.org. To test your stroke knowledge, take a quiz at: http://strokeheroquiz.org/. Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have questions or suggestions for future articles, she can be reached at lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

May 19, 2017

No More Arguments Tips for Getting or Staying Healthy

Community folks often ask me for tips to get or stay healthy. I start my spiel - eat fruits and veggies, cut sugar intake dramatically, be active. At this point, one of two things usually happens – eyes start to glaze over or more often than not, the individual interrupts me by listing all the reasons why none of those things will work for him or her. Here are the top three reasons people give me for not improving their health: 1) I don’t like vegetables, 2) I do not have time to exercise, and 3) It is too expensive to eat healthy. Believe me; I am familiar with these thoughts myself. Most recently, I have not been exercising as much as I should. The conversation in my head goes something like this…”You don’t have time today – yes, you do…no, you don’t… you have to check off all these boxes on the to-do list.” AHHH! Perhaps you have these internal dialogues as well. To help combat the arguments, here are some research-backed answers as well as a few tips to help us all get on track! Argument #1 – I don’t like vegetables. When I met my hubby, he did not eat many veggies. He said he did not like broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, peas, etc. Fast-forward 30 years and he now enjoys large quantities of all the above. What changed? New cooking techniques and repeated exposure. Part of enjoying vegetables is knowing how to cook them – lightly steaming, sautéing, or roasting veggies brings out their flavor and sweetness. The key is not overcooking which leads to mushy, tasteless veggies with diminished nutritional value. More importantly, repeated exposure to any foods leads a person to eventually liking it. According to John Mackey, author of The Whole Foods Diet: The Lifesaving Plan for Health and Longevity, “Our taste buds turn over very rapidly, and we can reeducate our taste buds fairly quickly. If you don’t like a healthy food such as kale the first time or two that you try, don’t give up on it. After you have eaten any food 10 to 15 times your will begin to enjoy eating it. Life can be this wonderful adventure of wellness and vitality if we will reeducate our palates to love the healthiest foods in the world. Once you do, you will find that real food tastes a lot better than any processed food you used to eat—and you’ll be craving those healthy real foods instead.” TIP: Buy one new vegetable per week at the grocery store or local farm market. Look up a recipe and enjoy the adventure. Argument #2 – I do not have time to exercise. Only 18% of us meet the weekly recommendations for cardiovascular and muscle-strengthening activity. The top excuse for not exercising - time. Finding the time and energy just to walk seems to elude many Americans. As a society, we are busy people. On average, we work 47.6 hours per week. Feeling tired at the end of the day, many head right to the sofa. The American Time Use Survey reports the most commonly performed activity at the end of the day—after eating and drinking—was watching television or movies, done by 80% of those surveyed. According to statisticbrain.com, the average American watches 5.11 hours of TV per day, which adds up to about 9 years of your life. Given these statistics, the average person really does have time to incorporate more activity into their day. However, when the doc says you need to get at least 150 minutes each week of moderate intensity physical activity (such as brisk walking), the time commitment can seem daunting. Let’s break that down. 150 minutes divided by 7 days is about 21 minutes per day. What’s more, you don’t need to do all 20 minutes at the same time. According to the CDC, if you garden, rake leaves, walk briskly, vigorously scrub a kitchen floor, or run up and down the stairs for at least 10 minutes twice a day, you will still reap health benefits. TIP: Walk briskly at lunchtime, after dinner, while you are waiting for the kids’ baseball game to start, around the mall, grocery store, or local school track. Besides getting your heart rate up, a good walk lowers stress, and improves mood and energy level. Argument #3 – Eating Healthy is Expensive Why do we think eating healthy is more expensive? The answer is complex. For one thing, it is partially true. Some cuts of good meats and fresh fish are expensive. That being said, a large container of good for you oatmeal is much cheaper than sweetened, processed breakfast cereal. Beans are an incredible source of fiber and protein and are a fraction of the cost of beef. Cutting up carrot sticks for snacks will save you a bundle versus chips. One argument I often hear is that soda is cheaper than juice or milk. True. This, however, assumes that it is healthy to have milk or juice at every meal. It is not. The truth is that juice and milk contain decent amounts of sugar. Therefore, they should be consumed in moderation. It also assumes that if you don’t offer milk or juice, that you must offer some other drink. The default then is soda. The best drink for most of us, however, is water, which is free. Another factor that skews the analysis is marketing. Processed manufacturers do a great job of convincing us that the packaged lasagna is a great deal. Finally, studies do not show the whole picture. Most research looks at one variable such price per calorie or price per serving. These studies do not take into account the cost of eating processed foods with little to no nutritional value day after day over the course of many years. The result of this type of diet is Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. These chronic diseases end up costing much more than fresh fruit and veggies in terms of lost work time, doctor visit co-pays, medicines, and hospital stays. TIP: Check out Leanne Brown’s cookbook, Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/day at https://cookbooks.leannebrown.com/good-and-cheap.pdf. This free cookbook is full of great, simple recipes made with real foods that won’t break the bank. Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at UR Medicine Noyes Health. If you have questions or suggestions for articles, contact Lorraine at 585-335-4327 or lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org. ... Read More

May 15, 2017

Mental Health Awareness

I attended high school just as the calendar was turning from the 1970s to the 80s. Big-teased hair, mullets, baggy tops, leggings, high-waisted jeans, leg warmers, spandex, headbands, and big boxy shoulder pads were all the rage. Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Prince, and Michael Jackson dominated the air waves and MTV was just starting to make its impact. Like many teens, my life revolved around relationships, school, music, and fashion. My adolescent self-absorption blinded me to the trials and troubles of some of my classmates. Despite living in a small town, I was often unaware of mental health issues that were tearing apart families and producing grief and angst beyond imagination. Even when a young man a year younger than I committed suicide, it was barely mentioned at school. There were whispers in the hallway and a few of his friends made attempts to honor his memory, however, there was no counseling, formal talks, or education regarding mental health. Fast forward to 2017 and I can thankfully say times have changed. May is now officially Mental Health Awareness month. Suicide task forces operate throughout the region and people are considerably more conscious of mental health issues. There is, however, a long way to go to improving the mental health of our society as the following numbers attest. According to National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year. And mental illness affects all ages with approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiencing a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%. The CDC defines mental illness as “health conditions that are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior (or some combination thereof) associated with distress and/or impaired functioning.” Depression is the most common type of mental illness, affecting more than 26% of the U.S. adult population. It has been estimated that by the year 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of disability throughout the world, trailing only ischemic heart disease. In addition, 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experience an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias and among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness. These numbers are often associated with other societal issues. For example, an estimated 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness and an estimated 46% live with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorders. Furthermore, approximately 20% of state prisoners and 21% of local jail prisoners have “a recent history” of a mental health condition. Many of these conditions, however, are left untreated. According to NAMI, only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. Despite the availability of effective treatment, there are long delays—sometimes decades—between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help. It is not unusual for mental illness to start during the teen years. Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-quarters by age 24. The consequences of lack of treatment are tremendous. Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year. Moreover, mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18–44. And tragically, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., the 3rd leading cause of death for people aged 10–2421 and the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15–24. More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition and each day an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide. There is no quick fix or one-size fits all approach to mental health. It is complex and intertwined with many variables including genetics, family history, trauma, adequate housing, safe neighborhoods, equitable jobs and wages, quality education, and access to quality health care. As always, the first step is awareness and education. There's no easy test to differentiate typical behaviors from mental illness. Mental health professionals offer this advice. Don’t be afraid to reach out if you or someone you know needs help. Important first steps include: 1) Talk with your doctor; 2) Connect with other individuals and families; and 3) Learn more about mental illness, symptoms, and treatment. For more information, connect with the National Institute of Mental Health at www.nimh.nih.gov or the National Alliance on Mental Illness at www.NAMI.org. Locally, Noyes Mental Health Services can be reached at (585) 335-4316 and Livingston County Mental Health Services can be reached at (585) 243-7250. If you or someone you know is in danger or suicidal, call 911. Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have questions or suggestions for future articles she can be reached at lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

May 11, 2017

Noyes Health CEO Recognized by Senator Young

Amy Pollard, President/CEO of Noyes Health, was applauded this week when she was installed as a 2017 New York State Senate Woman of Distinction. Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I- 57th District) nominated Ms. Pollard as the 57th Senate District’s honoree, recognizing her long and distinguished record in nursing and healthcare. “Amy Pollard is well respected by her colleagues and those who work for her because of her distinguished record of service on the floor and in management. She has held a variety of clinical and leadership positions throughout her career. These experiences have imparted principles on her that have advanced her to a pinnacle in the healthcare industry, and helped Noyes Health undergo a tremendous rebirth,” said Senator Young. “Noyes Health has become a beacon of hope for those in need of medical care in our area. It is because of Amy’s leadership that so many people have seen positive outcomes, no matter the ailment confronting them. We are blessed to have Amy Pollard as a leader in our community and our state,” Senator Young said. “I am honored to accept this award from Senator Young and appreciate the support she provides to hospitals in her district. The progress we have made at Noyes has truly been a team effort,” said Amy Pollard. At the ceremony in Albany, Ms. Pollard and other distinguished women from across New York State were highlighted for their service and commitment to their communities and our state. Established in 1998, the New York State Senate Women of Distinction ceremony is held annually to pay tribute to women who have demonstrated remarkable character, initiative, and commitment in serving their neighbors, strengthening our communities, and acting as role models. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh’s School Of Nursing, Amy Pollard practiced on medical-surgical and obstetrical units. She also held roles in nursing education and management, which expanded her experience and professional advancement. She also completed a master’s degree at Alfred University. In 2007, she joined Nicholas H. Noyes Memorial Hospital as the Vice President of Patient Services, overseeing nursing and support services. In that role, Amy was responsible for mentoring nurse managers, coordinating efforts related to the Joint Commission standards and surveys, and assessing and improving the quality of care delivered at Noyes. Ms. Pollard was promoted in 2011 to the role of President/CEO at a financially challenging time for the hospital. Empowered by a visionary Board, an excellent management team and a loyal staff, Amy’s leadership oversaw the successful turnaround of Noyes Hospital. Working with the Board and Administration, Ms. Pollard has also been a driving force in the process to identify a strategic partner for Noyes, as it develops into an integrated healthcare system. She guided the hospital through its affiliation with the University of Rochester (UR), helping Noyes become a leader in medical care. Amy’s management has fostered a positive environment, with Noyes and UR Med continuing to fulfill its goal of having patients receive care in their community whenever possible. Among the highlights of Amy Pollard’s tenure at Noyes Health has been the construction of a new, expanded Emergency Department that opened in 2014. The facility is three times larger than the former space and affords comfort and privacy for patients, and is equipped with cutting-edge technology. In January of 2016, the Ann and Carl Myers Cancer Center (a regional division of the Wilmot Cancer Institute) opened its doors to provide comprehensive medical and radiation oncology services to patients in Livingston and surrounding counties. Ms. Pollard was a 2017 recipient of the Rochester Business Journal’s Healthcare Achievement Award. “Amy Pollard is an outstanding example for women of all ages. She is truly worthy of our deepest respect, admiration, and heartfelt thanks,” Senator Young said. ... Read More

May 9, 2017

Roberts Wesleyan College recognizes Laura Bond

Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, N.Y., recognized UR Medicine | Noyes Health therapist and social worker Laura Bond with the 2017 Outstanding Field Instructor Award. Ms. Bond earned an MSW degree from Arizona State University and has been working at Noyes Mental Health and Wellness in Dansville for 14 years, supervising Roberts Wesleyan student interns for the last 6 years. She also provides clinical supervision for the other therapists at Noyes. “Laura was chosen to receive this award for her patient, kind and supportive demeanor, and the opportunities that she has provided for our students,” explains Laura Ribbing, head of Field Education for Roberts Wesleyan’s Masters in Social Work Program. “She is great at offering encouragement, advice and answering questions and is able to foster deeper learning, understanding and confidence in students. Students leave Noyes feeling confident in their knowledge and ability and are ready to make a difference.” “I enjoy helping people every day in my practice,” says Ms. Bond, “and I love teaching and helping students learn and gain self-awareness and insight in order to be better therapists.” UR Medicine | Noyes Health is the largest employer in Livingston County, and continues to grow and evolve to meet the healthcare needs of the region it serves. As a diverse and broad-based healthcare organization, UR Medicine |Noyes Health provides in-patient and out-patient services in two locations, Dansville and Geneseo, including general surgery, maternity care, mental health and wellness, orthopedics, dialysis and physical therapy. Facilities include a kidney disease and dialysis center and the new Ann and Carl Myers Cancer Center, a regional medical and radiation oncology treatment center in partnership with UR Medicine’s world-renowned Wilmot Cancer Institute.... Read More

May 9, 2017

Mental Health and Wellness Open House and Art Show

UR Medicine | Noyes Health’s Mental Health and Wellness team invites the community to an Open House and Art Show on Wednesday, May 17th from 5 to 7 p.m. at their new building, 9221 Robert Hart Drive in Dansville. Art work in a variety of media created by Noyes clients and staff around the theme “Art is Healing!” will be on display. There will be fun and interactive family activities and refreshments, including ice cream donated by Byrne Dairy. The event is free and open to the public. “Sometimes it’s hard to explain in words how you’re feeling,” explains Lynette Greene, Noyes Mental Health and Wellness manager. “Our two art therapists help their clients express themselves in a different way, and we’re delighted to be able to show off the amazing work they’ve done.” Noyes's more than two dozen mental health professionals collaborate with patients, their families, and the community to support wellness and recovery, and to make a profound difference in the lives of area residents-those struggling with life's everyday challenges, as well as those with severe and persistent mental illness. Services offered include individual, group and family therapy for adults, children, and families in a friendly and open atmosphere. PHOTO CREDIT: UR Medicine | Noyes Health art therapist Diane Stratton-Smith works with client Peggy Oltz on a collage of cut-paper photographs from magazines and catalogs, glued in layers to postcard-sized cardboard and laminated. Ms. Oltz’s work will be among the dozens of art works on display at the UR Medicine | Noyes Health Open House and Art Show on Wednesday, May 17 from 5-7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. ... Read More

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