Counseling for New York Teens

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smartphoneStudents from ten public high schools in New York City are going to be given smartphone access to free and confidential counseling for mental health. NYC Teen Text was developed following a survey in 2013 on Youth Risk Behavior that revealed 27 percent of NYC public high school students feel sad/hopeless every day for two or more weeks. Of this figure, only 18 percent accessed a counselor. The idea behind NYC Teen Text is to close this gap.

It is a great idea given the amount of time teens these days spend on their phones. NYC Teen Text will have approximately 2,000 local providers of counseling services in the database. In addition, for teens that seem like they might harm themselves, counselors can work alongside the local police department to check in on them.

A substantial supporter of the program has been Chirlane McCray, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife.  Their own daughter has suffered from mental illness.  McCray pointed out quite simply that: “our goal is to meet teens where they are – and where they are is on their phones.”

One should realize however that this program should NOT be used in place of traditional one-on-one counseling, as that is very important to be face-to-face with a counselor. But it is a good start, especially for those teenagers reluctant to make an appointment with a counselor.

New York: Environment, Pollution, Disease

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ratsNew York City has always been plagued with rats as it were. This is not a new phenomenon. Indeed, just two years ago the city’s health department made a staggering 95,000 rat inspections. But it’s not just the rats (gross as they are) that are causing a problem for New York residents. It’s actually what lives on them – the insects – that can infect residents with some of the most awful diseases including plague.

It might seem like plague is no longer an issue, given that the last time the US witnessed this was in 1925 on the other side of the States in Los Angeles. So it was the first time in close to a century that the amount of fleas and lice on NY rats were calculated. There have been reports published on how to deal with rat problems – that are actually people problems – in New York. Because when there are rats, there is disease and when there is disease, this impacts the health of the people.

But New Yorkers really shouldn’t feel so bad. They are not the only ones encountering these vermin. In fact, in a recent study of the 10 most rat-infested cities, New York only came in at Number 10 (with Deshnoke, North West India, being Number 1 and Chicago, Atlanta and other US cities coming in before New York).

Still, the estimate of NY rats is that it is 1:1 ratio to people. That’s not good.   But in 2013 the municipal authorities did attempt to undertake a way of sterilizing the rats. Still, the issue remains. And New Yorkers – understandably – are worried about how the rats and what they are carrying will impact pollution and ultimately their health.

National Wear Red Day

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heartFemale New York heart-disease survivors are sharing their stories with CBS2 for National Wear Red Day. The idea behind this day is to increase awareness about the rise in heart disease for women. February is Heart Health Month that is taking place alongside the Go Red for Women campaign.

Heart disease is the Number 1 killer for women but these days 80 percent of heart disease is actually preventable, should women be aware enough to take care of their health by eating well and engaging in cardiac-based exercise on a regular basis.

In addition, Macy’s is taking part in the fun and health promotion activity. Three Days ago which marked National Wear Red Day, Macy’s invited its customers to “shop, save and support the fight against heart disease.” For all those shoppers who wore red to Macy’s on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, they received a 20 percent off on certain merchandise as well as all items in the sales and clearance sections.

That should have really appealed to New York women who we all know, just love to shop….but hopefully now they’ll do it without dropping!

New York Health Coverage

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healthcareAccording to the New York State of Health (NYSOH) Department, over 225,000 New Yorkers have newly enrolled for health coverage for 2015. This number does not include re-enrollers. Of this number, 142,187 is covered by Medicaid and 83,057 by private insurers. According to Donna Frescatore, NYSOH Executive Director, the numbers “continue to increase steadily.” The intention is to continue this effort “to reach as many New Yorkers as possible in our drive to get them covered before February 15.”

However, there has been some backlash to the system. Those who advocate a universal single-payer system, argue that the problem with the current model is that client access to care is left up to the “mercy of for-profit insurance companies.”

Thus Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan Assemblyman is sponsoring a legislation to establish a “universal single-payer healthcare system in New York state.” He said that this would render comprehensive health coverage available for all New Yorkers and would be publicly funded. He argues that this system could save New Yorkers more than $20bn annual as they would not have to pay for insurance company administrative profit and personnel.

Furthermore, there would be no need to hire a whole slew of admin to deal with insurance companies to pay up. Right now that is already built into the health care costs and thus it wouldn’t be an additional cost for the New York health system.

Bone Broth Comes to New York

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Bone broth can now be sipped in New York’s East Village. Brodo, located at 403 East 12th Street, window on First Avenue, is New York’s first ever take-out window that’s focus is shippable broth. The chef Marco Canora, has already been selling these broths at Hearth.

It is a great concept in time for the winter. These broths are made by boiling animal bones, vegetables and an array of herbs to create bone marrow-filled stock. Increasingly, nutritionists, beauty gurus and health coaches are pushing bone broth. It can be a great gut health booster, inflammation attacker and more, all while providing lots of nutrients such as amino acids, calcium, collage and potassium.

Indeed, as the South American proverb claims: “A good broth can revive the dead.”

Inger Loftheim Rood: Putting the Customer First

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inger-loftheim-roodAccording to Collegis Education writer, Megan Ruesink, “customer service….is certainly becoming more important in the wake of healthcare reform.” Plus, there has been a greater focus on customer service in healthcare industry from the federal government. Today, healthcare providers and business executives are making this a high priority. Therefore, individuals like Inger Loftheim Rood, VP and Chief of Staff for the Office of the CEO at Florida Blue, are increasingly making customer service a priority in their work too.

In fact, Loftheim Rood was endorsed for this attribute by Frederick Schremp, CLU, Senior Vice President at CBIZ. He described her as “exceptionally effective senior director with great C suite potential. [She] demonstrates extraordinary customer service focus, health care delivery expertise and personnel management skills.”

The idea of healthcare efficiency was echoed by Matthew J Miller, president of Brainspires Inc. He recently pointed out that: “From a hospital president on down the chain of command, all staff are encouraged to provide proactive and positive interaction with hospital visitors, including patients and anyone else roaming the halls.”

This information is important also for the patient. Those individuals who are looking for top class service in the healthcare industry today, can expect good customer service, as endorsed by individuals such as Inger Loftheim Rood and Matthew J. Miller, amongst others.

New York Doctors to Help Ebola Crisis?

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CuomoWith the increasing Ebola crisis in West Africa, Governor Andrew Cuomo is working on encouraging New York doctors to go out and help. He is working on an incentive package, coordinating with hospitals, health care organizations, etc. So important is this to the Governor that he has even committed to “pay and provide financial incentives, similar to what has been done with military reservists.

America is known for this kind of action. Just look at Haiti’s earthquake of 2010, followed by the cholera crisis, that saw thousands of doctors and medical staff come to offer assistance.

What’s potentially different about this particular health crisis is the fear that it is coming to America as well, as has been discussed especially with regards to the recent Texan case. But Cuomo already has a policy in place to deal with that; quarantining returning medical helpers – at home – for 21 days as a preventive measure.

 

New York Health and Climate Change

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climate-changeAs well as being a communal concern, climate change can be a problem for one’s personal health. A study – researched over the last two decades – put together by the Journal of the American Medical Association reviewed the impact climate change has on health. Using air temperature data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (JAMA) National Climatic Data Center it found that by the year 2050, many US cities will be encountering many more days of high-heat temperatures.

Even more worryingly, the data found that in urban cities such as New York, figures for high-heat temperatures are likely to triple! The health implications of this are not good: potential respiratory disorders, heart issues, infectious diseases, mental health disorders that result from natural disasters and more. Indeed, one article in JAMA recently claimed that climate change is as “as threatening to our public health as lack of sanitation, clean water and pollution [were] in the 20th century.”

So it is worthwhile in the long run for the state of New York to make efforts to reduce climate change. That would thus in turn potentially reduce health problems for the state.

New York’s Anti-Smoking Campaign

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anti-smokingDepending on where one lives in America, there are different policies and campaigns focusing on anti-smoking. It seems that New York may have a way to go vis-à-vis promoting anti-smoking, according to a recent report put out by the American Cancer Society. Each state should be working on screenings, smoking bans, tobacco taxes, and more. New York seems to have been reported as doing well vis-à-vis breast and cervical cancer screening endeavors, but it has been advised that it should bring back funds for programs that restrict smoking areas. According to the Cancer Action Network, approximately 107,000 New Yorkers will be diagnosed with cancer this year and for 35,000 it will be fatal.

But it’s not just New York that should be ashamed of its lackluster anti-tobacco campaign. Iowa has what to answer for as well. Currently, the state is spending a mere $5.1 million on its anti-smoking efforts, but according to Iowa Tobacco Prevention Alliance board member Jeneane Moody, federal experts believe this figure should be $30 million per year on anti-tobacco efforts. A staggering $90 million is spent by tobacco companies annually on Iowa marketing.

Moving on to Florida, it seems Iowa and New York can take a few lessons. The Florida Department of Health’s (FDOH) Tobacco Free Florida campaign has aggressive commercials depicting the human impact of smoking as part of a comprehensive program. It bases these on ads that have successfully run in other countries and have been positive. Because of Florida’s work in this realm, the results have been great. There has been reduction of 500,000 adult smokers in the state since 2007 and 72,000 people have quit with the 3 Ways to Quit services Florida has provided.

So for New Yorkers to get healthier as a state, a lesson or two could be learned from how Florida is attacking the smokers’ habits in the state.

Summer New York Fitness Programs

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Yoga Practitioners Greet Summer Solstice In Times SquareNew York fitness programs over the summer are currently in full swing for both adults and children. There are many free ones available too.

Union Square offers yoga, CrossFit and running at different times of the day, instructed and sponsored by Fitlst and Lole. New Yorkers can get in their exercise at Bari, Body Conceptions, Flywheel, Uplift and others. For New York fitness outdoors lovers, Yogamaya is located on 14th Street Park every Wednesday.

Shape Up NYC offers dance classes every Sunday, sponsored by NYC Parks, Equinox, NYC Service and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield. Free classes throughout the five boroughs are available on a first come, first served basis.

Next on the summer New York fitness programs is the free yoga class given by YogaWorks in conjunction with Athleta which provides the mats at Bleecker Street studio. Sacred Sounds Yoga also offers yoga for children on a Wednesday morning. There are also free classes in Astoria Park and Gantry Plaza State Park so there’s no excuse for anyone to miss a yoga session!

NYC Parks are a perfect summer location for free New York fitness programs. Check out what is available at the times most convenient to you and start getting in shape in New York this summer!

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