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Mental Health, Let's Talk About It

Navigating the winter months with mental health disorders can be particularly challenging due to factors such as reduced sunlight, colder temperatures, and the holiday season. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression associated with changes in seasons, often intensifies during winter. To mitigate its effects, individuals can explore light therapy, spending time outdoors during daylight hours, and incorporating light-enhancing activities into their daily routines. Additionally, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is crucial for stabilizing mood and energy levels, as disruptions to sleep patterns can exacerbate symptoms of various mental health disorders.

The winter season can contribute to social isolation, which is especially detrimental to individuals with mental health disorders. Efforts to stay connected with loved ones and engage in social activities, even if they are virtual, can provide a crucial support system. Community involvement and participation in group activities can foster a sense of belonging, reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation that often intensify during the winter months.

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Big South Fork Medical opens Myrtle Recover Center in Oneida, Tennessee

RHA Staff Deliver Prescription-drug Take-back boxes 

In August, Big South Fork Medical Center, announced the opening of Myrtle Recovery Centers, its alcohol and drug treatment facility at the Oneida .

October 31st, Jessica Rackley, RHA's Rural Community Opioid Response Program (TN-RCORP) Director, and Jacy Warrell, RHA's CEO traveled to Oneida to deliver two prescription drug take-back boxes to be placed at the hospital.

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National Drug Take Back Day

October 28th is recognized as National Drug Take Back Day.

National Drug Take Back Day is a public health initiative provides an opportunity for individuals to dispose of their unused or expired prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs safely. This annual event, organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and local law enforcement agencies, aims to combat the growing issue of prescription drug abuse and its associated health risks. By participating in National Drug Take Back Day, people can ensure that these medications do not end up in the wrong hands, in turn reducing the potential for misuse, addiction, and overdose.

One of the main benefits of National Drug Take Back Day is the environmentally responsible disposal of pharmaceuticals. Flushing medications down the toilet or throwing them in the trash can lead to contamination of water sources and soil. By providing designated collection sites where individuals can drop off their medications, the initiative prevents these substances from polluting the environment. This environmentally friendly approach not only safeguards ecosystems but also protects human health by reducing exposure to harmful chemicals.

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Behavorial Health Safety Net Program

The Behavioral Health Safety Net System in Tennessee, known as BHSN of TN, is a crucial resource for adults aged 18 and older who lack insurance coverage but meet the necessary eligibility criteria. This program offers essential community-based behavioral health services, with the exception of inpatient care, which is not covered. BHSN of TN is effectively administered through contracts with Community Mental Health Agencies statewide.

For individuals seeking to access this safety net assistance, the process involves locating a provider in their area and scheduling an intake appointment. During the appointment, applicants should express their intention to apply for the safety net program. If deemed eligible based on the eligibility requirements outlined below, the agency will provide support in completing the enrollment form. Approved participants must receive Behavioral Health Safety Net services exclusively at the Community Mental Health Agency where they initiated the application process.

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September is National Recovery Month

National Recovery Month aims to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life.

To start off National Recovery Month, we're sharing a few resources and will add to these as the month progresses. 

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Symposium on Prevention and Recovery

Please join TN-RCORP members, Power of Putnam and Tennessee Tech’s Counseling Honor Society Tau Tau, for a collaborative symposium to discuss new developments and best practices in substance use prevention and recovery. In person and virtual options are available.

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Suicide Prevention Program Uses ESSENCE to Monitor Suicidal Behavior

The Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-Based Epidemics (ESSENCE) is a national syndromic surveillance system used to monitor disease trends for early detection of potential disease outbreaks.

In Tennessee, the Department of Health (TDH) is using ESSENCE to monitor weekly trends in suicidal behavior and identify regions/counties across the state seeing increased incidents of persons reporting to an emergency department for suicide-related behavior. Each week, the Suicide Prevention Program within TDH will review reports on how many people visited a local ED for suicidal ideation or injuries related to self-harm or suicide attempts. If a certain county reports an above-average number of suicide-related visits for a certain age group, this will trigger an ESSENCE alert for that county and age group. These alerts will be issued weekly by TDH.

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Rural Health Care Task Force Releases Policy Recommendations

Tennessee's Rural Health Care Task Force, formed in June 2022 by Governor Bill Lee, has released a number of recommendations aimed at improving access to care and health outcomes for rural Tennesseans. In the report are recommendations to increase access to care, train healthcare professionals, and address social drivers of health.

Rural Health Association of Tennessee's CEO, Jacy Warrell, served as the Social Drivers of Health Subcommittee Chair, making recommendations to support grant programs that will allow rural communities to develop and implement their own innovative solutions to addressing social drivers locally. RHA's workforce program also received a nod and is included as a recommendation to address building healthcare career pathways for entry-level healthcare professionals.

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Webinar and Training on MAT/MOUD (Medication Assisted Treatment/Medication for Opioid Use Disorder) and Stigma

Join RHA and Dr. Erica Schlesinger Hurst, Pharm.D., Assistant Chief Pharmacist with the Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) for a virtual training on MAT/MOUD (Medication Assisted Treatment/Medication for Opioid Use Disorder) and Stigma on August 22, 2023, from 11:00 am - 12:00 pm CDT.  

Attendees will learn about and understand the change in brain function during active opioid use disorder, gain the ability to identify medications used to treat opioid use disorder, and have a comprehension of the various stigma affecting the treatment of opioid use disorder.

 

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20 Top Rural Health Challenges Identified by HHS

For the first time across three decades of research, a greater proportion of Rural Healthy People respondents selected “Mental Health and Mental Disorders” and “Addiction” in their lists of top Healthy People priorities for rural America, than did “Health Care Access and Quality.”

Read the findings of the Rural Healthy People study here.

RHA Spring Regional Events

Join us this spring! 

Regional events are an opportunity to learn more about health issues affecting your community, such as substance use disorder, maternal health, and more. Lunch will be provided to in-person attendees.

A Town Hall, moderated by Jacy Warrell, RHA's CEO, will be available from 2:00-3:00pm. 

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RHA to receive grant to address Substance Use Disorder

Rural Health Association of Tennessee (RHA) has been awarded a $1million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services to combat Substance Use Disorder (SUD) in rural Tennessee over the next three years.

The announcement comes during National Recovery Month – an observance to bring public awareness surrounding mental health and addiction recovery. Tennessee, via the Behavioral Health Safety Network, prevention coalitions, and other change agents, have achieved many successes toward reducing Substance Use Disorder in the state. Most notably, opioid prescriptions have decreased statewide, resulting in fewer deaths involving opioids obtained through a prescription. Targeted prevention, treatment, and recovery programs do work.

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