The power of preparedness in case of disaster

Wildfires, once again, have consumed our attention this summer in Idaho. But Idaho is also prone to other natural disasters, including floods and earthquakes. A flu pandemic, extreme temperatures, and accidents involving long-term power outages also are very real possibilities. Are you prepared if one of these disasters strikes?

How do you prepare for the unknown?

We can’t know for sure where or when a disaster will happen, but having emergency supplies, a disaster plan and making sure you are informed about the specific emergencies your area is most at risk for will help protect you and your family from the chaos of a disaster. Get a kit, make a plan and be informed.  Continue reading

Preventing suicide in Idaho

Idaho and the mountain western states continually rank in the top 10 states for number of completed suicides per capita. But the good news is that completed suicides are not the norm – well over 90 percent of people who make attempts do not die by suicide. And with the creation of the Suicide Prevention Program in the Department of Health and Welfare during the last legislative session, the state of Idaho has made preventing suicide a priority.

Tell us about where we are with the Suicide Prevention Program.

We just got the funding to start up the program on July 1, and we have hired three staff, including program manager Kim Kane. We’re very excited about her leadership and expertise in the program. We have one more position to hire for, and then we can turn our energy to youth suicide prevention and intervention activities and public awareness. So you’ll likely be hearing more from us about suicide prevention as the program gets up and running. Meet Kim as she introduces the state’s suicide prevention program at a recent press conference hosted by the City of Boise and the Speedy Foundation.  Continue reading

‘It’s About Me!’ highlights children in the developmental disabilities program

 

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A love of all animals, Star Wars, Boise State University, being an artist, a winking rainbow, doing gymnastics, reading “millions of books,” dancing — these are the things children in the Developmental Disabilities Program think of when they  describe themselves and their interests.

This is the first year for the Idaho Children’s art contest highlighting children who receive developmental disability services throughout the state.

“We want to highlight the children in our program, because they are the reason we come to work each day,” said Sarah Allen, a supervisor in the Children’s Developmental Disabilities Program in the Department of Health and Welfare. “This contest showcased the kids in our program — their interests, strengths, talents, and future aspirations. It was really fun learning more about the kids we serve.”  Continue reading

Canyon County reports travel-related Zika case

Southwest District Health has reported a third case of travel-related Zika virus infection in Idaho. Here’s the news release:

CANYON COUNTY REPORTS TRAVEL-RELATED ZIKA

Southwest District Health officials confirmed today that a Canyon County male in his 40’s has tested positive for the Zika virus, after traveling to an area outside the U. S. with active Zika virus transmission. He was not hospitalized. The case is yet to be interviewed, but initial information suggests this was likely travel-related. This is the 3rd case of travel-acquired Zika virus disease to be reported in Idaho this year. There have been no locally-acquired cases in Idaho. At this time, there is no vaccine or medicine for the virus.

The Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne disease in the Western Hemisphere. It spreads to people primarily through the bite of two species of infected mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). These mosquitoes also carry dengue fever and chikungunya. These two species of mosquitoes are not native to Idaho.

According to Randi Pedersen, Epidemiologist for Southwest District Health, Zika typically does not cause symptoms or causes only a mild illness lasting up to a week. Some infected cases experience mild symptoms, such as fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes for up to a week, but many people don’t even know they are infected. Continue reading

Idaho honors its first Champion and Advocates for Recovery

Recovery efforts in Idaho would not be successful without the important leadership, passion, and hard work of some tireless people in communities around the state. Those individuals were honored and recognized today at a celebration of recovery awareness in the Lincoln Auditorium at the State Capitol.

Idaho named its first Champion of Recovery as well as Advocates for Recovery from around the state. They all were nominated by their communities.

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Darrell Keim

Champion Darrell Keim was chosen for his work in the “development, formation and realization of the Latah Recovery Center in Moscow.” His nomination called him “the face of the recovery community in our rural college community.”

“I’m deeply honored by the recognition,” Keim said. “Our whole committee has worked hard on this project.”

The Latah Recovery Center opened in September 2015.  Continue reading

It’s National Recovery Month. Will you help reduce stigma?

September is National Recovery Month, and it’s a good time to talk about mental illness and substance use disorders so we can help fight the stigma associated with them. The more comfortable people are about talking about those conditions, the more likely they will seek treatment. You can support recovery publicly by attending a celebration of recovery at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in the Lincoln Auditorium at the Idaho Statehouse. Lt. Gov. Brad Little will present a proclamation and Idaho’s first Champion of Recovery will be presented with an award.

How do we know if someone is in recovery?

Recovery is an ongoing process that includes a person’s entire mental well-being, and how well they can function on a daily basis. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight and it’s not guaranteed that someone will stay in recovery once they’ve achieved it. It is a life-long process that depends on many things, including robust recovery support systems. People who have a good support system are better able to maintain recovery.  Continue reading

Fight the Bite – For Both Mosquitoes and Bats!

New reports of West Nile virus infections and bats being found with rabies are a good warning for people to watch out for biting critters.

Today, Southwest District Health Department announced three human cases of West Nile virus, two in Canyon County and one in Payette County, bringing the statewide total to 5. Also today, Central District Health issued a warning for people to be aware of an above-average season of rabid bats, documenting 7 rabid bats in Ada County since June. Last year, Ada County reported 2 rabid bats. Continue reading