June 2018 Epi Bulletin
Mental Health Support

Mental Health - Dismantle the Stigma

Mental and substance use disorders affect people from all walks of life and all age groups. These illnesses are common, recurrent, and often serious, but can be treatable, and many people do recover. Learning about some of the most common mental and substance use disorders can help people recognize their signs and to seek help. The coexistence of both a mental health and a substance use disorder is referred to as co-occurring disorders.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA’s 2014) click here, approximately 7.9 million adults had co-occurring disorders in 2014. During the past year, for those adults surveyed who experienced substance use disorders and any mental illness, rates were highest among adults ages 26 to 49 (42.7%). For adults with past-year serious mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders, rates were highest among those ages 18 to 25 (35.3%) in 2014.

To continue moving forward and achieving effective results, drug use disorders and addictions need to be called and recognized for what they are, “a disease.” This is important in overcoming many individual and community barriers that directly or indirectly affect many people and prevent them from seeking needed live-saving care. 

Similarly, suicide rates are also on the rise in the United States and even closer to home in Kansas and Missouri. 1 Researchers found that more than half of people who died by suicide did not have a known diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death. Relationship problems or loss, substance misuse, physical health problems, and job, money, legal, or housing stress often contributed to risk for suicide 2.

When compared to a few years ago, more people now have healthcare coverage. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), like other healthcare coverage's, includes benefits for addiction and mental health, which offers eligibility to treatment services, including psychotherapy and counseling. Though the future of the ACA is still uncertain, the needs for these services only seems to be growing. Above all, stigma associated with mental illness continues to be the major obstacle that prevents many individuals from seeking needed care.

These are public health issues, which means that all of us are affected. Together, let’s work to dismantle the stigma and squarely deal with the stereotyping and discrimination associated with them.

Recovery from these disorders is a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential with family and community support. SAMHSA offers programs, initiatives, and resources to help people recognize mental and/or substance use disorders and to reach out for help.

Click the links for more information on SAMHSA’s efforts in prevention, treatment, and recovery.

Tick Prevention

Tick-Borne Diseases

As summer approaches, insects become more active. Many of them such as ticks and mosquitos are known to transmit diseases to animals and humans. Ticks are the number one disease vector in North America and Missouri.

Ticks carry many diseases that can pose a serious health risk. In 2017, Missouri had close to 600 cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and 338 cases of Ehrlichiosis reported. These two diseases are the most common tick-borne diseases in Missouri. Ticks in Missouri have also been known to transmit other diseases such as Tularemia, Lyme, Heartland Virus, and Bourbon Virus.

Symptoms of tick-borne diseases are generally similar and develop within two weeks of the tick bite. These symptoms include fever, chills, body aches, headaches, fatigue, and sometimes a rash. The number of people infected with tick-borne diseases in Missouri is increasing each year, thereby, making prevention from tick bites more important.

Tick-borne diseases are transmitted when the tick bites and attaches to a human to feed. The longer the tick is attached, the greater the risk of transmission if the tick carries a disease. It is important to remove any attached ticks as soon as possible using tweezers or your fingers to gently pull the head of the tick from your skin. Be careful not to squeeze or crush the tick. Do not use other methods of tick removal such as nail polish, alcohol, or a hot match, as these methods can increase disease transmission.

Tick-borne diseases are most common during the months of May, June, and July when people spend the most time outdoors, so awareness during this time is important. When in tick habitats, use an insect repellant that contains DEET, picaridin, or IR3535. Weather permitting, wear long sleeves and long pants, tucking the pants into boots or other protective footwear. Also, be sure to check yourself and your family for ticks after outdoor activities. Don’t forget to check pets for ticks too. Animals can also carry ticks and transmit them to humans.


Recreational water safety

Swim Healthy, Swim Safe

Swimming is a great way to beat the heat and get some exercise at the same time. As you get ready to splash this summer, here are a few reminders to keep you safe and healthy.

On arrival, check the pool:

  • Check the pool’s latest inspection results. Usually this information is posted in the pool area
  • If possible and safe, make sure the drain at the bottom of the deep end is visible
  • Also, check that the drain covers at the bottom appear to be secured and in good repair
  • You can use pool test strips to make sure the water’s pH and free chlorine or bromine concentration are correct. For more information click here.
  • Check for a lifeguard:
_If on duty, a lifeguard should be focused on the swimmers and not distracted
_If no lifeguard is on duty, a “No Lifeguard on Duty” sign should be posted
_If no lifeguard on duty, check to see where safety equipment, such as a rescue ring or pole, is available
  • Make sure no chemicals are out in the open
Before swimming:
  • Shower before entering the pool. This keeps dirt and germs from getting in the water
  • Apply sunscreen and reapply again if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off
  • Keep up with fluids to prevent dehydration
Protect yourself and others:
  • Keep the pee, poop, blood, and dirt out of the water
_Take younger children for frequent bathroom breaks, ideally once every hour
_Children not diaper trained should wear proper swimming diapers
_Never change diapers in the pool area, only in a specifically designated diapering area
_Don’t swallow pool water, even a small amount of water that has been contaminated with germs can make you sick
_Always keep an eye on your children! Drowning can happen at a moment’s notice
Do not go swimming if you:
  • Spot severe weather (dark clouds, lightning)
  • Have had a diarrheal disease within the past two weeks
  • Have an open wound that is not covered with a waterproof bandage
  • Can’t swim and are too far away from the shore or the poolside
  • Are not feeling well or feeling sluggish or dizzy. This could be a sign of heat exhaustion. Sit out in the shade, and rehydrate
For more information on healthy swimming click here.

Clay County Communicable Disease Data Summary

The 2018 year-to-date disease report for MMWR Week 20 shows that most reportable disease conditions remained within what is expected for the county, except for shigellosis. The 2018 Kansas City metro Measles Outbreak is officially over. Clay County did not have any confirmed cases of measles in county residents. However, exposures in the county resulted in increased investigations, follow ups, surveillance, and media enquiry.

The 2017-2018 flu season is also officially over. The county had a total of 2,981 cases of flu reported among county residents, and this represents the highest number reported in the last five years.

Summer is fast approaching, and the Clay County Public Health Center is recommending that providers remain proactive in testing and diagnosing individuals with gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses. This will assist the local public health agencies in timely containment of clusters of GI illnesses and to prevent outbreaks.  

April/May 2018 Communicable Disease Data

To view the chart of communicable disease data, click here.

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