FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 28, 2020
CONTACT: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112, SutfinL1@michigan.gov
MDHHS recognizes October 29 as World Stroke Day
Michigan continues to focus on stroke reduction, providing quality stroke care
LANSING, Mich. – In Michigan and the United States, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and is a major cause of long-term disability. To raise awareness and educate residents about ways to recognize, prevent and treat strokes, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is joining organizations across the country in recognizing October 29 as World Stroke Day.
There are 17 million strokes worldwide each year. In the United States, approximately 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke each year resulting in one of every 19 deaths.
“Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “World Stroke Day is an excellent reminder to focus on your health and consult with your physician regarding any concerns you may have.”
Healthy lifestyle behaviors include not smoking; getting regular physical activity; maintaining a healthy diet and body weight; and controlling cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar
Strokes occur when the blood supply to any part of the brain is disrupted. Without blood, brain cells may be damaged or die. Strokes can affect one’s body, mobility and speech, resulting in a significant impact on stroke survivors and their families. A stroke is a complex medical issue but there are ways to significantly reduce its impact. Recognizing the signs of stroke early, calling 911, and accessing specialized stroke care as quickly as possible can substantially improve outcomes.
If you think someone is having a stroke, do the FAST check to determine if the person is suffering from these symptoms:
- Face – Face weakness
- Arm – Arm weakness
- Speech – Speech difficulties
- Time – Time to call 911
MDHHS’ Michigan’s Ongoing Stroke Registry to Accelerate Improvement and Care (MOSAIC), is leading an effort to promote stroke awareness through the recognition of acute stroke victims and survivors. The color blue symbolizes the victims, while the color silver recognizes the survivors. All Michiganders are encouraged to wear these colors and ribbons to help raise awareness and spread the message that early recognition and care can make a difference. MOSAIC hospital and EMS partners serve as ambassadors for change in their communities and support efforts to recognize stroke and stroke survivors.
For more information about MOSAIC and stroke prevention, visit Michigan.gov/stroke.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 28, 2020
CONTACT: Bob Wheaton, 517-241-2112, firstname.lastname@example.org
MDHHS launches media campaign promoting free mental wellness counseling
Campaign acknowledges COVID-19 distress, urges Michiganders “Be Kind to Your Mind”
LANSING, Mich. – Mental health experts at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are launching a statewide media campaign this week urging residents to seek relief from COVID-19-related emotional distress by talking to a trained crisis counselor and learning about other help available.
The “Be Kind to Your Mind” campaign promotes the use of Michigan’s free, confidential Stay Well counseling line, and aims to combat stigma associated with seeking help for feelings of depression, anxiety, anger or loss – all common during a disaster like COVID-19.
The Stay Well counseling line debuted on May 13, and is staffed with crisis counselors 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Callers can access the line by dialing Michigan’s COVID-19 hotline at 888-535-6136 and pressing “8” at the prompt. The service is part of a federally funded grant program implemented by the MDHHS Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Administration in partnership with the Michigan State Police.
“Many of us are having a hard time right now,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “There should be zero shame and zero stigma – just honesty that can help each of us find our own inner strength. ‘Be Kind to Your Mind’ says you can talk about the strain from COVID with trained counselors who are available for free if you call 888-535-6136 and press 8, or visit Michigan.gov/StayWell.”
According to a recent online survey of 99,000 households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, more than one-third of American adults report symptoms of depressive and/or anxiety disorder—triple the rate reported in 2019. Another survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control in June found more than one in 10 U.S. adults had considered suicide in the past 30 days. That rate was more than double what was reported in 2019.
“Stay Well counselors help people understand their feelings and reactions during a disaster like the COVID-19 pandemic,” said psychiatrist Dr. Debra Pinals, MDHHS’ medical director for behavioral health. “While they are not licensed mental health professionals, they have undergone training provided by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration on how to help people mentally rebound from disasters.
Pinals said the Stay Well counselors are taught to listen, not judge, and help callers develop coping strategies, review their options and connect with agencies that may help them. All of this can reduce callers’ stress and improve their ability to endure the realities they face, she said.
According to a report prepared by the Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Administration grant team, callers to the Stay Well line are experiencing a range of emotions. They are anxious about contracting the coronavirus, having a loved one contract the virus and keeping their children and/or parents safe. They are discouraged about continued unemployment, worried about going back to work in an unsafe environment, and lonely due to lack of social interaction. Many callers expressed gratitude for being able to talk to someone who was objective and non-judgmental.
Language translation is available for non-English-speaking residents who call the counseling line.
“This service is one of the many steps MDHHS has taken to support the public’s behavioral health during these stressful and uncertain times,” said Allen Jansen, MDHHS Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Administration senior deputy director. “COVID-19 has impacted most everyone’s mental health in one way or another, and we are here to help.”
To access other mental health resources for coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, visit Michigan.gov/StayWell.
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