January is Stalking Awareness Month

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January is Stalking Awareness Month

The Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC) website reflects the 16th annual action call to recognize stalking as a serious crime. Stalking is defined as a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

A pattern of behavior is considered two or more incidents. There are a variety of actions, including but not limited to unwanted contact including texts, calls, and social media contact; following the person; showing up/approaching an individual or their friends/family; tracking the person (using apps, hidden cameras, or GPS); sending unwanted gifts or letters; hacking the person’s accounts and changing the person’s passwords or impersonating the person online; showing up or waiting for the person at work, home, or school; threating to hurt the person, or those close to the person – pets, family, friends; sharing or posting or threating to post or share intimate photographs of the person; spreading rumors about the person whether online or in person, and property damage.

Even if the behavior is not a crime on its own, for example excessive texting, this should be documented and reported because it could be a part of the stalking behavior pattern.

The definition of stalking identifies fear as an indicator for stalking. Fear is contextual so what might be cause fear for one person might not invoke the same response for a different person. Fear can be masked through frustration, hopelessness, anger or despair.

If a person feels they are being stalked, they should document everything, tell people a trusted person about the situation, including finding out if there are security plans at work, home and school, and consider getting a court order.

International Stress Awareness Day

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International Stress Awareness Day

November 6th is International Stress Awareness Day. Stress is not something that everyone can avoid but we have to learn to manage it. When a person is stressed the heart rate increases, muscles tighten, breathing quickens, and the blood pressure rises. Stress is different for everyone. Small doses of stress are not bad, unless it is long-term chronic stress. Some consequences of long-term stress are:

  • Depression, personality disorders, and anxiety
  • Obesity and other eating disorders
  • Cardiovascular disease including strokes, high blood pressure, heart attacks, abnormal heart rhythms, and heart disease
  • Acne, eczema, permanent hair loss, and psoriasis
  • Loss of sexual and reproductive disorders
  • GERD, ulcerative colitis, irritable colon, and gastritis

Here are some stress management techniques:

  • Practicing relaxation techniques
  • Exercising regularly
  • Managing your time more effectively
  • Setting limits and turning down extra tasks
  • Getting enough rest
  • Not relying on drugs/ alcohol/compulsive behaviors
  • Spending time with people you enjoy
  • Eating well-balanced healthy meals
  • Expressing your feelings, beliefs, or opinions instead of becoming passive, angry, or defensive
  • Always trying to keep a positive attitude

Help Prevent Domestic Violence / Intimate Partner Violence

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Help Prevent Domestic Violence / Intimate Partner Violence

October is Domestic Violence / Intimate Partner Violence month. Any type of aggression or violence in a close relationship is intimate partner violence (IPV). An “intimate partner” refers to dating partners, former partners, and current partners. There are four types of IPV behavior:

  • Stalking – any unwanted contact or attention that is a repeated pattern and causes concern or fear for the person’s safety or the safety of someone close to the victim
  • Psychological aggression – using non-verbal and/or verbal communication with the intent to exert control over another person and/or harm another person emotionally or mentally
  • Sexual violence – attempting to force or forcing a partner to take part in a sex act, have a non-physical sexual event (e.g. sexting) or sexual touching when the person cannot or does not consent
  • Physical violence – hurting or trying to hurt by kicking, hitting, or another other type of physical force.

Prevention includes teaching safe and healthy relationship skills, engaging influential peers and adults, creating protective environments, disrupting the developmental pathways to intimate partner violence, strengthening economic supports for families, and supporting survivors to lessen harms and increase safety. You can access more information on intimate partner violence and prevention from the CDC by using:

www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/fastfact.html 

or 

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/riskprotectivefactors.html

National Suicide Prevention Week

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National Suicide Prevention Week

National Suicide Prevention Week is September 8-14 and National Suicide Prevention Day is September 10th. The most recent 2017 data from the Center for Disease Control shows that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in North Carolina.

There is not a single therapeutic approach for all people who are considering suicide, but some of the warning signs someone might be considering suicide are:

  • Expressions of hopelessness / helplessness
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Personality changes
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Verbal suicide threats such as “Maybe I won’t be around” or “You would be better off without me”
  • Daring or risk-taking behaviorLack of interest in future plans
  • Depression

If you feel someone might be in trouble, you should trust your instincts.  You should always ask direct non-judgmental questions to determine if the person has a detailed plan, because a specific plan reflects a greater risk. You should not leave the person alone if you feel they are in trouble.  You should also talk to the person about your concerns as you make sure you are listening to the person and their thoughts. You should not act judgmental or shocked and you should not swear to secrecy.

Some protective factors for suicide prevention are effective clinical care for physical, mental, and substance abuse disorders, family support and community support, skills in conflict resolution, problem solving, and nonviolent ways of handling disputes.

The suicide prevention hotline is: 1-800-273-8255.

August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day

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August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day

August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day. This annual global event is aimed at raising awareness of drug overdoses while reducing the stigma from drug-related deaths. This annual awareness day is used to relay the message that this is a preventable tragedy. International Overdose Awareness Day is also a time to acknowledge the grief families and friends have as they remember those who have a permanent injury or died as a result of a drug overdose.

In 2016, four North Carolinians died each day from either a drug overdose or from unintentional medication. Responding to this unprecedented loss of life, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services decided in 2017 to distribute 40,000 units of the opioid reversal drug naloxone to families, friends, and first responders with the intent of saving lives in the event of an opioid overdose.

North Carolina has taken several steps to address this crisis including:

  • Increase access to office-based opioid treatment (OBOT) for opioid use disorder: Remove duplicative state registration of buprenorphine prescribers that NC doctors widely cite as a barrier to prescribing medication-assisted treatment in the office-based setting; and
  • Improve the ability of syringe exchange programs to prevent the costly spread of disease: Remove the ban on using state funds to purchase supplies for syringe exchange programs.

National Safety Month

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National Safety Month

June is National Safety Month! National Safety Month is a reminder to be more aware and help prevent deaths at work and unnecessary injuries in our homes, communities, and on the roads. The CDC encourages a 4-week plan that could be implemented the entire year.

Emergency Preparedness incorporates health and occupational safety into any emergency response plan. Identifying preparedness activities and strategic planning protocols are created to protect recovery and response workers. The best way to prepare for emergency situations is to actively participate in safety drills both at home and at work. If there is ever an emergency, being trained in First Aid CPR is a useful skill.

Wellness in a holistic approach for workers well-being, safety, and health has been explored as an opportunity to advance while protecting workers from hazards. Prolonged periods of high stress levels can lead to a number of physical ailments which can possibly lead to the risk of depression. Sleep is also important for your complete health. Lack of sleep in some jobs can have an adverse effect on the person and the people around them. Pilots, trucking, healthcare, and emergency responses are all occupations where fatigue is a serious problem.

Falls are a problem that’s preventable in the workplace but also remain persistent. Retail and wholesale industries and health services continue to have the highest number of nonfatal fall injuries. The number one cause of construction-worker fatalities are falls. Falls from heights often cause more serious injuries, deaths and are a safety risk for all age groups.

Motor vehicle accidents are a common danger. Ninety-four percent of motor vehicles accidents involve human error. Buckling up every time you are in a motor vehicles is a simple step that can take to help prevent injuries and death. An impaired driver plays a role in many crashes and driver impairments range from distracted driving to drugs, alcohol, and fatigue.