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Health briefs: Biking for health in New Richmond; blood donation opportunities

New Richmond Middle School students pose May 10, 2017, after biking or skateboarding to school. Photo by Tara Burmood

Mental Health Month focuses on access

"Mental health is health" is the Minnesota Department of Human Services' theme for May's Mental Health Month. The slogan is a reminder that not only are mental illnesses common and treatable, but access to mental and chemical health care is an essential part of everyone's health.

One in five Minnesotans experience mental illness each year, and one in 25 people live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, according to a DHS news release. Fortunately, there are more treatments, services and community support than ever before, and, as a result, many people with mental illness can and do recover.

"It is critical that people with mental illness get the care they need," Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper said. "It's no different than any other health condition. Just like treatment for cancer, people with mental illness need the right specialized medical care."

As part of Mental Health Month, DHS created a web page with information about mental health at mn.gov/dhs/mental-health.

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MDH: Medical cannabis patients see benefit

A majority of Minnesota patients using medical cannabis reported benefits during the first year of the program, according to early data from a first-of-its-kind study by the Minnesota Department of Health. The study draws on data from survey results as well as enrollment, purchasing and related health information to describe the experience of patients using medical cannabis July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016.

"Based on this evidence from the first year, Minnesota's approach is providing many people with substantial benefits, minimal side effects and no serious adverse events," Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger said.

Patients responded to a survey question asking how much benefit they believe they received from using medical cannabis on a scale from 1 (no benefit) to 7 (great deal of benefit). Across all patients, 64 percent indicated a benefit rating of 6 or 7. In the area of symptom reduction, patients achieved at least a 30 percent reduction in symptoms (an amount considered clinically meaningful) for conditions including seizures, Tourette syndrome, Crohn's disease and muscle spasms.

These year-one findings are consistent with what MDH found after the program's first three months. MDH has posted the study's executive summary at its medical cannabis data and statistics page. The complete study is scheduled to be released this summer.

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Upcoming blood donation opportunities

As summer approaches, the American Red Cross urges eligible blood donors to roll up a sleeve to help ensure a sufficient supply for patients in need. Donors of all blood types are needed to help accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving cancer treatment.

Local donation opportunities:

• River Falls Library — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 26.

• Hudson Snap Fitness — noon to 6 p.m. May 30.

• St. Croix County Government Center, Hudson — 8 a.m. to noon May 31.

• River Falls Area Hospital — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 1.

• River Falls Family Fresh Market — 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 3.

• Durand Masonic Community Center — noon to 6 p.m. June 12.

• Maiden Rock Village Office — 12:30-5:30 p.m. June 12.

• St. Croix County Services Center, New Richmond — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 13.

• River Falls Municipal Utilities — 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 14.

• Property Executives Realty, Somerset — 10 a.m.to 4 p.m. June 14.

• New Richmond American Legion Butler Harmon Post 80 — noon to 6 p.m. June 14.

• Hudson Walgreens, 141 Carmichael Road — noon to 6 p.m. June 15.

As a thank you, those who come out to donate May 26-30 will receive a Red Cross visor, while supplies last. To make an appointment to donate blood, download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit www.redcrossblood.org or call 800-RED CROSS.

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Hudson Hospital Rehab Center adds physical therapist

Hudson Hospital Rehabilitation Center welcomes physical therapist Lisa Mesia, DPT, to their core rehab team, according to a news release. Mesia had been temporarily covering at Hudson Hospital under a contract but recently joined as a new employee. Mesia received her doctorate of physical therapy from the College of Saint Scholastica in Duluth, Minn., where she played collegiate basketball. She presented research nationally on the prevention of ACL injuries in female athletes at the Minnesota Physical Therapy Association conference in 2010.

Her specialties include therapy for orthopedics, back and neck, neurological disorders, vestibular disorders, concussions and Parkinson's. Mesia has interests in sports, hunting, fishing and travel. To learn more about Hudson Hospital Rehabilitation Center, visit www.hudsonhospital.org.

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New Richmond students bike for health

New Richmond Middle School along with the Healthier Together team of Pierce and St Croix County Physical Activity Action Team hosted a bike to school day Wednesday, May 10. A total of 68 students participated by biking or skateboarding to school.

Healthier Together is a community coalition working to create and maintain healthy communities and provide a strategic framework for local health improvement activities, according to its website. For more information, visit www.healthiertogetherstcroix.org.

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Immunization clinics offered

Pierce County Public Health will hold immunization clinics next month in River Falls and Ellsworth. The River Falls clinic will be 3-5 p.m. Wednesday, June 7, at 1234 South Wasson Lane, Suite A, in River Falls. The Ellsworth clinics will be offered 2-4 p.m. Thursday, June 8, and 3-5 p.m. Wednesday, June 28, at 412 W. Kinne St., in the Pierce County Office Building.

The clinics are for children through 18 years of age who are Medicaid eligible, uninsured, American Indian or Alaska Native or have insurance without vaccine coverage. Some adult vaccinations also are available for a fee.

For more information or to make an appointment, call 715-273-6755.

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