MDHHS recognizes October 29 as World Stroke Day

MDHHS recognizes October 29 as World Stroke Day

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Press Release


CONTACT: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112,

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

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MDHHS provides recommendations to vote safely

MDHHS provides recommendations to vote safely

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Press Release


CONTACT: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112,  [email protected]

MDHHS provides recommendations for
Michiganders to vote safely during COVID-19 

LANSING, Mich. –To ensure Michigan voters remain healthy and reduce the spread of COVID-19 during the Nov. 3 general election, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has released recommendations for voterspoll workers and election officials.

“This guidance allows Michiganders to carry out their right to vote while doing it safely during the pandemic,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “I encourage registered voters to consider voting alternatives to limit the number of people they come in contact with and to help reduce the spread of the virus.”

“Michigan citizens can cast their ballots safely and with confidence in this election,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “All election workers are required to wear masks and all voters are strongly encouraged to do so. Voters who already have absentee ballots can drop them off at their city or township clerk’s office or ballot drop box. Voters can also go to their local clerk’s office through Nov. 2 to vote early by requesting and submitting an absentee ballot.”

All registered voters may vote early by visiting their city or township clerk’s office through Nov. 2. There they can request, fill out and submit an absentee ballot all in one trip, or take their ballot home to fill out and sign the envelope before returning it to one of their jurisdiction’s ballot drop boxes by 8 p.m. on Nov 3. Election workers, who are required to wear masks, will ask voters to show photo ID.


Eligible citizens who are not yet registered may register, request and submit an absentee ballot at their local clerk’s office through 8 p.m. on Nov. 3


When you vote or return your ballot, practice healthy behaviors to protect yourself and slow the spread of the virus. These behaviors include:

  • Wearing a mask that covers your mouth and nose.
  • Washing hands before entering and after leaving the polling location.
  • While in the polling location, frequently use alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet (about two arms’ length) of distance from others.

If you are sick or concerned you have been exposed to COVID-19, seek medical care. If you don’t have an absentee ballot, contact your local election office for guidance about voting options.


Guidance is based on the most current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and MDHHS recommendations for prevention of the spread of COVID-19. Read the “Recommendations for Healthy Voting in Michigan” for more helpful tips for voting this year.


Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at and

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Watch Lake Orion JV Football 10/22/2020

Watch Lake Orion JV Football 10/22/2020

MDHHS promotes free mental wellness counseling

MDHHS promotes free mental wellness counseling

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Press Release


CONTACT: Bob Wheaton, 517-241-2112,

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”

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

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MDOT: automated truck platooning demonstration

MDOT: automated truck platooning demonstration

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CONTACT: Jeff Cranson, MDOT Director of Communications, 517-648-8247


MDOT joins neighboring states in automated
truck platooning demonstration


October 27, 2020 — The Smart Belt Coalition (SBC), a collaboration between the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), transportation agencies in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and academic institutions in all three states, conducted an automated truck platooning demonstration Oct. 22 that began in Pittsburgh and ended in Michigan. The SBC partnered with Pittsburgh-based technology firm Locomation to complete the demonstration.

While performing the demonstration, the SBC coordinated food donations between the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank, and Forgotten Harvest in Detroit.

Truck platooning is the linking of two or more trucks in convoy using technology and automated driving support systems. These vehicles automatically maintain a set, close distance between each other when they are connected. Two automated and connected tractor trailers traveled from Pittsburgh, through Ohio, to Michigan.

Previous platooning demonstrations in Michigan highlighted a partnership between MDOT and the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) (formerly known as the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, or TARDEC) in Warren.

“Michigan has been at the forefront of developing mobility technologies of the future, and this demonstration follows others completed here to foster more research focused on safer ways to move freight,” said State Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba. “This furthers the culture of collaboration we’ve encouraged between private industry, government and academia to support research, testing and operations of automated vehicles.”

The SBC and Locomation demonstrated the agency coordination and administrative and procedural requirements necessary for a truck platooning system to operate continuously through the three states.

More information is available on MDOT’s website about the department’s support for connected and automated vehicle testing in Michigan.

            Formed in 2016, the SBC is a strategic transportation collaborative comprised of 12 organizations, including five transportation agencies and seven research and academic institutions, located throughout Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The purpose of the SBC is to foster collaboration among multiple agencies and research affiliates from Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, involving research, testing, policy, standards development, deployments, outreach, and funding pursuits in the area of connected and automated vehicle technology, as well as other innovations in the transportation industry.

            SBC members include:

            Agencies: MDOT; DriveOhio (through the Ohio Department of Transportation); the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission; the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation; and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

            Research Affiliates: The American Center for Mobility; Kettering University; the University of Michigan; the Ohio State University; Transportation Research Center, Inc.; Carnegie Mellon University; and Pennsylvania State University.