September 2, 2014

Health

Helpful news/articles about health issues. [Scroll down to view older posts.]

CPR/AED Training: February 5

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Life is precious and being able to help in an emergency can make the difference between life and death.
CPR/AED training | Sunday, February 5 | after services | Heritage Room
We are grateful that an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) has been generously donated to our church. We need volunteers to learn how to use the AED. A CPR and AED class will be held in the Heritage room on Sunday, February 5th following services. Cost is $40.00. Please sign up in the gathering space. If you are CPR certified and want to sit-in only on the AED part of the class you are welcome to join us. Contact us for more information.

Flu Shots at Parkway UCC

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Sunday, October 23 | 9:30am-12:30pm

Cost is $20.00 or FREE with Medicare, Part B, GHP or Mercy.

Mental Illness Awareness Week: October 2-8

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(Reprinted from 2006 with permission from Gail Haack.)

How could I possibly even touch on the vast subject of mental illness in just a few lines? Mental illness is often called, “The Only Illness for which You Don’t Get a Casserole” – or cards, flowers, phone calls, or visits. As a society – as a congregation – we don’t know how to respond when we learn that someone has a mental illness. By 2006, most of us know that these conditions aren’t contagious (“They aren’t, are they?” whispers a tiny voice in our head.) However, there exists a huge sense of awkwardness. When we’re talking to that person, or to a family member, is it ok to ask how he/she is doing? Is it ok to ask questions about the illness and what that experience is like? Or should we treat the whole matter like the bright green elephant in the middle of the room: carefully tip-toe around it and pretend there’s nothing unusual going on? Unfortunately, this is the most common approach. (At the end of this article I will give my personal response to the questions of what to say and what to ask the person or the family members.)

 

At any given time, about one person in four has a diagnosable mental disorder. Look at the person on your left. Look at the person on your right. The person in front of you ….. Now, consider yourself. That’s four people. One of the worst mistakes we make is assuming that mentally ill people all look like violent, deranged skid-row “bums.”

 

Mental illness is an equal opportunity offender. These diseases strike people regardless of race, nationality, age, socioeconomic status, religion, or IQ. We look like everyone else.

 

Mental illnesses are physical illnesses, just like hypothyroidism, appendicitis, diabetes, or heart disease. Just like other illnesses, many can be helped with medication; some require different types of support; most require a combination of both. In spite of the fact that these are very real, physical disorders, there is still a huge amount of stigma and discrimination against the mentally ill in this country. There is still a discrepancy in health Insurance coverage. People are reluctant to get help, for fear of their friends or their employers finding out.

 

The economic cost of untreated mental illness is more than $100 billion annually in the United States. Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U. S. (ages 15-44). About 6-7% of the population of the U. S. is affected with this at a given time. The average amount spent in research regarding depression is about $18 annually per person affected.* (National Institute of Health). Compare this to an average of $2240 for HIV/AIDS, $476 for lung cancer, $325 for cervical cancer, $132 for Parkinson’s disease. These illnesses are all deserving of research, obviously, but there does seem to be a disparity.

 

Treatment for serious mental illnesses is highly effective. There is a 70% – 90% reduction in symptoms with appropriate medication and psychosocial supports.

 

At least 1/3 of America’s homeless are mentally ill.

 

Approximately half of students with a mental disease (ages 14+) drop out of school.

 

Pay attention to conversations, news reports, lV shows, and movies. In how many cases are mentally iii people portrayed as out-of-control, violent, or suspect in some way? (In fact, mentally ill persons are far more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators.) Please, be a part of the solution. If you hear or read a misuse of a reference to a mental illness (“He’s really schizo today, isn’t he?”), please educate the speaker or writer. It won’t cost you anything, and it will be a big step towards acceptance in our society.

 

Back to the beginning – what to say to a mentally ill person, or what to ask them? As with any illness, each person feels differently about discussing her health. As many of you know, we have mental illness issues in our family. Each one of us is very willing to discuss and to educate regarding our mental illnesses. Please feel free to ask us. Don’t ignore that huge green elephant!

 

 

 

Gail Haack (also Bill and Christopher)

 

(A good source of information is www.nami.org.)