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Mental Health Speaker Series Aug. - Sept. (2017)

Join us for eight weeks of mental health education speakers, and dinner, free of charge for community members! Learn about important mental health issues in our community and how you can help yourself and others cope with these issues. Sessions will be led by licensed clinicians.

Topics include:
  • 8/9 Anxiety -- Learn how anxiety affects people and ways you can help yourself and others cope with it. Topics include generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • 8/16 Depression -- Learn what depression is, how it can affect people, what you can do about it, and how to help others who are suffering from depression.
  • 8/23 Suicide -- Learn about warning signs, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and how to talk with someone who is suicidal.
  • 8/30 Self-Harm -- Self-harm is intentional, direct, and repeated injury without suicidal intentions. Learn why people self-harm and how you can help your loved ones.
  • 9/6 Grief and Loss -- Grief is a natural response to losing someone or something that is important to you. Learn to better understand the emotions, and how to take care of yourself and others who are grieving.
  • 9/13 Health and Well-being: Dealing with Stress -- The world is filled with stressors, and learning positive ways to cope can go a long way for your everyday health.
  • 9/20 Trauma -- Traumatic stress is a normal reaction to traumatic events. Learn about the physical and emotional reactions to trauma and leave with a few helpful coping strategies.
  • 9/27 Substance Use: Alcohol and Opioids -- Different substances act on the brain in different ways. This session will focus on alcohol, opioids, and heroin and how they are affecting individuals, and consequently our community and the nation.

  • Meets Wednesday evenings, 5:30-6:30pm at the Health District, 120 Bristlecone Drive in north Fort Collins. For more information and to reserve a space, email Katherine at kchu@healthdistrict.org. The series is hosted by Mental Health Connections, a partnership of the Health District and SummitStone Health Partners.
     
    Community Health Survey Finds Increase in Access to Health Insurance Under ACA (July 2017)

    Survey results show that residents of Larimer County have seen dramatic gains in health insurance coverage since 2013. The survey from the Health District of Northern Larimer County also finds that many residents have experienced fewer struggles with medical bills and debt collectors, put off fewer visits to mental health providers, and filled prescriptions that previously might have gone unfilled due to cost.

    The findings are part of the Community Health Survey, a large, scientifically designed study the Health District has conducted every three years since 1995. Results help the Health District and other local organizations gauge the community's health and track changes in healthcare access over time. The most recent survey of 2,279 randomly selected adult residents of Larimer County took place in the fall of 2016.

    In 2016, 4 percent of local adults ages 18-64 reported having no health insurance, down markedly from 12 percent three years earlier. The number of people who were uninsured for long periods of time -- seven months or more -- also decreased significantly, from 17 percent in 2013 to 6 percent in 2016. Those with the lowest income (138 percent or less of the federal poverty level) saw the steepest drops with 6 percent uninsured for longer than seven months in 2016, down from 47 percent three years earlier.

    The survey showed improved access to a variety of health services. The number of local residents reporting no insurance for prescriptions dropped from 14 percent to 7 percent. Among those with the lowest incomes, there was a steep decrease in the number of people who were said they were unable to fill a prescription due to cost (27 percent to 12 percent).

    Residents whose incomes were at or just above poverty were less likely to delay getting mental health care. The number of people who put off visiting a mental health provider due to cost declined significantly, from 49 percent to 19 percent.

    Gains in coverage had wide-ranging impacts on people's personal and financial well-being. Those who reported having medical bills they couldn't pay right away and had to pay over time declined from 31 percent in 2013 to 28 percent in 2016. Residents least able to pay for medical care got a reprieve from debt collectors as the number of people at or just above poverty who had been sent to collections for unpaid medical bills decreased from 22 percent to 15 percent.

    The 2016 Community Health Survey was a random-sample survey of 2,279 adult residents of Larimer County. A more detailed summary of recent survey findings related to coverage gains can be found on the Health District website. For more information on the Community Health Survey, contact Richard Cox at the Health District at 970-224-5209, rcox@healthdistrict.org.

    The Health District is a public agency that provides residents of northern Larimer County with dental, mental health, and preventive health services, in addition to connecting people to more affordable prescription and health insurance options.
     
    West Nile Virus Season Begins in Larimer County (June 29, 2017)

    The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment reported that mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus were trapped in Berthoud, making this the first positive sample in Larimer County in 2017. The presence of infected mosquitoes will likely increase in Larimer County in the coming weeks, as the hot weather speeds up both mosquito and virus reproduction. West Nile virus is most frequently transmitted locally in July and August.

    West Nile disease is a viral infection that is spread to people by bites from infected Culex mosquitoes. Symptoms can range from none at all to severe illness. About 75 percent of people who are infected have no symptoms; about 25 percent will develop West Nile fever. Less than 1 percent develop the more severe neuroinvasive form, which can lead to hospitalization, critical illness, chronic disability, or death.

    Larimer County Department of Health and Environment works with cities, Vector Disease Control International (formerly Colorado Mosquito Control, Inc.), and Colorado State University to monitor and assess the risk to Larimer County residents. The Health Department also works with homeowners associations to provide advice on eliminating sources of mosquito breeding and other methods of mosquito control.

    West Nile virus can be prevented. In addition to community efforts, such as larviciding, reducing water where mosquitoes can breed, and spraying for adult mosquitoes, individuals can remember to use the 4 D's to help prevent West Nile virus disease:
  • DEET or other effective mosquito repellent - Use an EPA-registered mosquito repellent that has been proven to be effective against West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes. DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (also called PMD), and IR3535 are good choices.
  • Dusk to Dawn - Avoid exposure during peak Culex mosquito feeding times, from dusk through dawn.
  • Dress - Wear long sleeves and pants to keep mosquitoes from biting.
  • Drain - Remove standing water in your yard or garden to minimize mosquito breeding areas.

  • For more tips on what you can do to prevent West Nile virus, visit the Larimer County website.
     
    Bike to Work Day on June 28 (2017)

    Every June, Colorado celebrates Bike Month, and here in Fort Collins we love anything that highlights and promotes people who ride bicycles.

    Each year on the fourth Wednesday of June, FC Bikes hosts its signature Bike Month event: Bike to Work Day (BTWD). Fort Collins' Bike to Work Day is an event to encourage people to bicycle for transportation; experience the benefits of riding a bike; highlight Fort Collins' extensive bike routes; and demonstrate that bicycling is an easy, fun, and healthy way to travel around the city.

    Breakfast stations will be set up across the city from 6:30am to 9:30am on June 28, and cyclists are encouraged to stop by on the way to work for coffee, orange juice, bagels, breakfast burritos, and a variety of other breakfast options, depending on which station(s) you visit.

    For more info about Bike Month and for a list of breakfast station locations so that you can plan your route on Bike to Work Day, go to the FC Bikes' webpage.
     
    Youth Mental Health First Aid Training This Summer (2017)

    These free 8-hour trainings are designed to assist those who work and interact with youth to identify symptoms or behaviors of developing mental illness and equip them with the tools they need to reach out and offer help. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people, such as parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, coaches, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other community providers.

    The course introduces common mental health challenges in youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Some of the topics covered include depression, anxiety, substance use and other mental health issues.

    Upcoming dates are Tuesday, June 20 and Wednesday, July 26. These trainings are held 8:00am-5:00pm at the Health District of Northern Larimer County, 120 Bristlecone Drive in Fort Collins. Registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Emily Leetham at 970-494-4370 or by email at eleetham@healthdistrict.org.
     

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