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COVID worsened Pa. farmers’ mental health challenges, state must act

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Sen. Elder Vogel Jr.

As a fourth generation farmer and chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs, I can affirm that farming can be inherently stressful – even at the best of times. The end result is subject to natural factors – such as weather, disease, predators and pests – and human factors, including market fluctuations and government regulations.

The COVID-19 pandemic added a whole host of new variables to the equation. Ordered closings of operations, schools and nationwide quarantine measures meant that many dairy farmers were forced to dispose of their rotten milk and harvest in the field or in the warehouse. The crisis contributed to pre-existing stressors, caused or exacerbated mental health problems and, in extreme cases, led to suicide.

Effects of COVID-19 on Rural Mental Health – a December 2020 national study by the American Farm Bureau Federation – found that 66% of farmers and farm workers said the pandemic had an impact on their mental health. The study also found that 60% of rural adults were worried about financial problems, 54% about losing their farm, and 51% said they were worried about an uncertain future.

At the state level, we recognized the stress factors even before the pandemic. In February 2020, I partnered with State Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding to host a round table discussion on the Penn State Beaver campus to discuss the factors that Pennsylvanian farmers are at high risk for mental disorders and To expose suicide.

Just months later, as COVID-19 devastated our state and nation, on September 22nd, I convened a public hearing for the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee in Harrisburg to discuss the widespread and devastating effects of the pandemic on agriculture in Pennsylvania to consider. The video from this hearing is available at: https://wi.st/3pjXPII.

Witnesses confirmed and heightened our grave concerns. We knew farmers were already prone to depression and other mental health problems; unfortunately, COVID-19 has made these problems much worse. Cliff Wallace, who represented the Beaver-Lawrence County Farm Bureau at the hearing, summed up the mental crisis and the effects of COVID-19 clearly and concisely.

“Economic unease and discouragement have filled my neighbors’ lives. Farms that have been family owned for over a hundred years are now closing. I’ve seen grief. I’ve seen suicides. I’ve seen bankruptcies. When a family business closes, the responsible generation feels like a failure. The economy makes it impossible for the remaining generation to resume business. Farmers are a proud stoic guy. They tend not to share their worries with others. That creates stress in them and in their families. “

Witnesses stressed that farmers traditionally seek professional help less than the average adult. Availability and accessibility can be problematic for people in rural areas, and treatment costs can also be a deterrent when the finances of a family business are tight.

Above all, stigma is, in many cases, the main obstacle preventing farmers from seeking professional help. Not only is this a state and local concern, but it also affects farmers across the country.

77 percent of farmers / farm workers surveyed by the American Farm Bureau Federation said it was “important” to reduce mental health stigma in agriculture, including 59% who said it was “very important”.

Farmers are proud and independent. Self-reliance and personal strength are often necessary qualities for those who till the ground or spend countless hours tending their livestock, but they can put up huge barriers to seeking help when they need it.

Overcoming these hurdles and ensuring that our farmers seek and receive the care they need and deserve will require a large, coordinated effort from all stakeholders. The Department of Agriculture has compiled a list of specific warning signs to alert families and friends that a farmer may have mental health problems, including:

• Decline in the care of plants, animals and farms

• Deterioration in personal appearance

• Withdrawal from social events

• Increase in agricultural accidents

• Change of routine

• Increased physical discomfort

• Increase in alcohol content

• Giving away valuable possessions

Especially if you have negative feelings or know someone who it is, please reach out for help.

Pennsylvania provides free 24/7 crisis counseling for anyone feeling stressed, overwhelmed, alone, or anxious through the support and referral helpline (855) 284-2494. If you or someone you know is going through a mental illness or is considering suicide, you can get help by contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Pennsylvania Sen. Elder Vogel Jr., R-47th Dist., Represents all of Lawrence County and portions of Beaver and Butler Counties. To read the study on the effects of COVID-19 on rural mental health, go to: bit.ly/3ifOvUQ. For information on government mental wellbeing resources for agriculture, visit: bit.ly/34Hvy5H.

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With first Louisiana location now open, Eleanor Health brings compassionate, whole-person care for addiction and mental health to Baton Rouge | Sponsored: Eleanor Health

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Editor’s note

This article is brought to you by Eleanor Health.

A nationally recognized team that specializes in the treatment of addictions and mental illnesses has landed in Baton Rouge. The new clinic will offer on-site services and reach the entire state of Louisiana with a virtual care platform.

“I believe that when prospective members join us, they are ready to make a life change,” said Julie Insyxiengmay, lead clinician at the Baton Rouge site. “Eleanor Health offers a number of services that set us apart from other substance use treatment programs. Every member who comes to our treatment because of their substance disorder has the opportunity to get involved with our care team at different levels of care: medication assistance provider, registered nurse, therapist, community recovery partner and member experience administrative specialist. At Eleanor Health, we believe in the harm reduction model that fully supports the autonomy of parishioners in their treatment. ”Holistic care is a key pillar that enables the interdisciplinary care team to develop personalized care that is tailored to the parishioner’s recovery goals . This approach promotes the best results specifically for the members.

Eleanor Health officially opened its Baton Rouge facility in February. This is the first Eleanor Health location in Louisiana. Additional locations are in Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Washington.

Eleanor Health’s services include drug therapy, counseling, mental health care, and more. They are intended for all people aged 16 and over who are struggling with or are affected by an addiction disease. Anyone who signs up for services is known as an Eleanor Health Community member because when you join their community you are a lifelong member.



Julie Insyxiengmay – Senior Clinician | Louisiana



What sets Eleanor Health apart from other companies is the individualized approach to stigma that begins as soon as someone calls. Anyone can contact the staff on behalf of themselves or a loved one to begin the journey. This step usually starts with the Access Team.

“Our access team is made up of Eleanor Health employees, not third parties or an automated system,” said Tylynn Mayo, Growth Marketing Associate at Eleanor Health. “When someone contacts us, they can sit down and have a real conversation with someone on our team.”

Wes Gonzales, director of operations at Eleanor Health, said these interpersonal connections are an integral part of the philosophy of offering personalized care that addresses all aspects of a person’s health.

“We really believe in a holistic approach,” he said. “We see ourselves as a psychiatric home for our members. This includes coordination with general practitioners and specialists to ensure that the needs of the members are met across the board. “

Insyxiengmay went on to say that Eleanor’s co-founders spent hours and hours researching to adopt this new model. Previous studies have shown that treating a person’s mental and emotional health is just as important as treating a physical addiction to a substance. The groundbreaking data we are now collating shows that the success of harm reduction with behavior therapy is key to long-term recovery. Harm Reduction is a practical strategy to reduce the negative effects of drug use on the member and their support system. With the growing opioid crisis, it is imperative that the industry analyze where programs to use substances have failed and adapt to more innovative practices.



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Westmoreland (Wes) Gonzales – Operations Director | Louisiana



“At Eleanor Health, we understand that mental health is closely related to drug addiction. Therefore, we offer evidence-based practices to ensure they understand their addiction process, engage in a harm reduction process, and learn to use coping strategies and strategies to confidently support their recovery. Therefore, at Eleanor Health, our mission is to help people affected by addiction live amazing lives.

The Baton Rouge Clinic already serves community members who use opioids and other substances. The members come from all backgrounds and from all walks of life. To help them stay on track, Gonzales said all Eleanor Health services are offered on an outpatient basis, with flexible scheduling and virtual treatment. We accept some major insurance plans like Medicare, Medicaid, and United Healthcare and offer affordable payment plans. We want to give as many members as possible the opportunity to imagine a different life.

“The flexibility we offer enables our members to get on with their lives and responsibilities, but also receive the care they need to manage their addiction,” he said. “You can receive drug treatment and services from in-house therapists, a community recovery partner for peer support, and a nurse care manager for general health. It’s about creating more positive interactions and reducing the stigma surrounding substance use disorder. We want people to feel comfortable and accepted with us. “

The Eleanor Health Baton Rouge Clinic is located at 3975 O’Neal Lane, Suite B. For more information, visit www.eleanorhealth.com, call 225-269-9646, or email gethelp@eleanorhealth.com .

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Michigan confirms 1st human case of hantavirus, a disease spread by rodents

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Earlier this week, Michigan health officials reported the state’s first confirmed case of Sin Nombre hantavirus, a disease spread by rodents but not between individuals.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced that an adult woman in the Washtenaw district was recently hospitalized with severe lung disease from the Sin Nombre hantavirus. The person was likely exposed while cleaning an unoccupied apartment that showed signs of active rodent infestation, MDHHS said.

Related: Tick risk is now rife in Michigan – what you should know

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The hantavirus was first discovered in 1993 in the southwestern United States as responsible for hantavirus lung syndrome (HPS) in sick patients. Since then, HPS has infected people in the United States and America. Hantavirus infections are associated with domestic, work, or leisure activities that involve people coming into contact with infected rodents. Most of the cases have been identified in adults and usually appear in spring and summer.

As of last year: CDC warns of “unusual or aggressive” rodents foraging in the midst of COVID-19

“HPS is caused by some strains of hantavirus and is a rare but serious and sometimes fatal respiratory disease that can occur one to five weeks after a person has been exposed to fresh urine, feces or saliva from infected rodents,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy for Health at MDHHS. “Anyone exposed to hantavirus-infected rodents is at risk for HPS, and healthcare providers with a suspected hantavirus case should contact their local health department to report the case and discuss options for confirmatory testing.”

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Humans become infected when freshly dried material that is contaminated with rodent excretions is disturbed and inhaled, gets into cracks in the skin or mucous membrane or when contaminated food or water is swallowed. Rodent bites can also transmit hantaviruses. The highest risk of exposure is when entering or cleaning structures that have been infected by rodents. There are no documented cases of human-to-human hantavirus transmission in the United States

Related: Metro Detroit is among the worst areas for rats in the US

Symptoms of HPS may initially be non-specific and include fever, chills, body aches, headache, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. The disease can progress to coughing and shortness of breath. HPS has a 40% death rate.

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“We can prevent and reduce the risk of hantavirus infection by taking precautions and being aware of the possibility of it,” says Dr. Juan Luis Marquez, medical director for the Washtenaw County Health Department. “Use rubber, latex, vinyl, or nitrile gloves when cleaning rodent-infested areas, ventilate the areas for at least 30 minutes before working, and make sure to thoroughly disinfect or disinfect the areas before cleaning.” Wet the chlorine solution. “

Hantavirus cycle. (NSF)

Hantaviruses are a family of viruses that are mainly distributed by wild rodents and are found around the world. Several hantaviruses have been identified in the United States that can infect humans, and each hantavirus has a primary rodent host. The main hantavirus in the United States that causes HPS is Sin Nombre virus, which is spread by the deer mouse and white-footed mouse.

The greatest risk of hantavirus infection is opening up or cleaning up closed rodent-infested buildings without adequate protection. Healthcare providers with a suspected hantavirus should contact their local health department to report the case and discuss options for confirmatory testing.

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Hantaviruses are viruses and are susceptible to most disinfectants (dilute chlorine solutions, detergents, general household disinfectants including those based on phenols, quaternary ammonium compounds, and hypochlorite). Depending on environmental conditions, these viruses are likely to survive for less than a week indoors and much shorter periods of time (hours) when exposed to sunlight outdoors. Special precautions should be taken when cleaning up after rodents. If the rodent infestation is severe, it is recommended to consult a pest controller.

COVID-19 vs. Hantavirus Lung Syndrome (CDC)

Copyright 2021 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit – All rights reserved.

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Delta Variant Producing More Severe Illness, Doctors in China Say

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As the delta variant of the coronavirus spreads in southeast China, doctors are finding that the symptoms are different and more dangerous than those they saw when the first version of the virus spread to downtown Wuhan in late 2019.

Patients are getting sicker and worsening much faster, doctors told state television Thursday and Friday. Four fifths of symptomatic cases developed a fever, they said, although it was not clear how this compared to previous cases. The virus levels that are detected in their bodies rise to higher levels than previously seen and then drop only slowly, the doctors said.

Up to 12 percent of patients become seriously or seriously ill within three to four days of the onset of symptoms, said Guan Xiangdong, director of intensive care medicine at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou City, where the outbreak has concentrated. In the past, the proportion was 2 or 3 percent, but occasionally up to 10 percent, he said.

Doctors in the UK and Brazil have reported similar trends in the variants circulating in these countries, but the severity of these variants has not yet been confirmed.

The testimony from China is the latest indication of the dangers posed by Delta, which the World Health Organization described as a “worrying variant” last month. First identified this spring in India, where it has been blamed for widespread suffering and death, Delta has since become the predominant variant in the UK, where doctors suspect it is more contagious and may infect some people who only take one of two doses from a. have received Covid19 vaccination.

However, China has uniquely detailed data as it has essentially universal testing near outbreaks that allow officials to gather detailed information on the magnitude of the cases.

The proliferation of Delta in southeast China is drawing more attention to the effectiveness of China’s homemade vaccines. The Chinese authorities have not stated how many of the new infections have occurred in people who have been vaccinated. In some other countries where Chinese-made vaccines are widely available, including Seychelles and Mongolia, infections are increasing among those vaccinated, although few patients are reported to have developed serious illnesses.

Last week near Shenzhen there were a handful of cases of the alpha variant, which first appeared in the UK.

With some other parts of the world still struggling to source and run large numbers of coronavirus tests, southeast China has used its local production of scarce chemicals to run tests on a remarkable scale. Authorities said they carried out 32 million tests in Guangzhou, which has a population of 18 million, and 10 million in the neighboring city of Foshan, which has 7 million people.

Guangzhou has also isolated and quarantined tens of thousands of residents who were near the infected. The testing and quarantine appear to have slowed but not stopped the outbreak. China’s National Health Commission announced on Friday that nine new cases had been found in Guangzhou the day before.

“The epidemic is not over yet and there is still a risk of virus transmission,” said Chen Bin, deputy director of Guangzhou City Health Commission.

Albee Zhang contributed to the research.

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