Speare Memorial Hospital's 6th annual women's health event a success

PLYMOUTH — A torrential downpour on April 7 didn't dampen the spirit of the sold-out crowd attending Speare Memorial Hospital's 6th annual Wine, Women & Wisdom event in Plymouth. This event is the hospital's annual ladies night where learning and socializing are keys to rejuvenating, re-energizing and rejoicing in the similarities and differences that unite all women.

Prior to the speaker presentations, attendees visited and shopped at exhibitor booths and partook in a wine tasting. Vendors for the event included Brownie's Beads of Alexandria, Community Clay Center of Plymouth, Dressers Unlimited from Plymouth, Devenir Esthetics & Massage of Plymouth, Newfound Grocery of Bridgewater, and Swiss Just of Holderness.
To kick off the event, Speare's new Marketing and Community Relations Director, Kate Tarbox, introduced event sponsor Dr. Dennis C. Hiller from Hiller Orthodontics. Hiller spoke to the crowd about the importance of good dental health and the reward of improving a person's confidence and self esteem through their new smile.

Kristina Stalnaker from Plymouth Orthopedics talked about diet and how to exercise safely with arthritis.

Keynote speaker was Carol Phillips, the award-winning author of "52 Simple Ways to Health," a national health and wellness expert, and host of the "Ask Coach Carol" radio show. Phillips wove together humor and wisdom to keep the audience engaged and entertained as she talked about changing thinking and implementing small changes to make sustainable improvements to your overall health and happiness.

Leadership summit focuses on combatting elder exploitation

CONCORD — Nearly 140 leaders from criminal justice, financial services, legal services and community-based supports from all regions of the state gathered at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord on April 20 for "Combating Elder Financial Exploitation in New Hampshire: A Leadership Summit." Participants learned about effective strategies, shared perspectives and generated ideas for improving our state's response to elder financial exploitation in a collaborative, coordinated way.

The summit featured Paul Greenwood, Deputy District Attorney in San Diego, California, as the keynote speaker. Attorney Greenwood, a nationally-recognized speaker and trainer, is a strong proponent of multi-sector approaches to address the issues of elder abuse – including financial exploitation.

"We've got to understand the impact of these crimes on victims' lives – financially, emotionally and in so many other ways," Greenwood said. "When we sit down together – banks, police, prosecutors, adult protective services, hospitals, mental health – and we start communicating, collaborating and understanding each other's different roles – not treading on each other's positions – it's phenomenal what can happen."

Other speakers included state Rep. Katherine Rogers (D-Concord); Mark Primeau, president of the Bank of New Hampshire; and state Deputy Attorney General Ann Rice.

Among the key findings: the need for more professional trainings; the benefits of developing more multi-disciplinary teams to increase effectiveness; and the need to build public awareness of elder financial exploitation through a coordinated campaign.

These initial findings will now frame the agenda for continued discussions at a series of five regional follow-up meetings in May and June to engage more local professionals from all sectors in identifying challenges and potential opportunities for collaboration. Input from both the summit and the regional meetings will guide the creation of a statewide action plan.

Mental health first aid training offered June 11

MEREDITH — UNH Cooperative Extension Youth & Family is sponsoring a Mental Health First Aid program in Belknap County on June 11. The Youth & Family team will train up to 30 4-H volunteers, youth mentors, teachers, school guidance counselors, bus drivers, coaches, police officers, parents and members of the public to improve mental health literacy – helping them identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness.

"We are thrilled to bring Mental Health First Aid to our community in January," said Amy Jennings, Youth & Family Program Coordinator, at UNHCE. "This important educational effort goes a lot further than emergency intervention; it really helps people understand the shroud of fear and misjudgment facing individuals and families who experience mental illnesses and addiction. It will help rid this community of the associated stigma and move more and more people toward recovery."

Mental Health First Aid is an eight-hour training certification course which teaches participants a five-step action plan to assess a situation, select and implement interventions and secure appropriate care for the individual. The certification program introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact and overviews common treatments. Thorough evaluations in randomized controlled trials and a quantitative study have proved the CPR-like program effective in improving trainees' knowledge of mental disorders, reducing stigma and increasing the amount of help provided to others.

For more information or to participate in a Mental Health First Aid training in Belknap County visit http://extension.unh.edu/articles/Things-Come-Crisis or call UNHCE at 603-527-5475

Did you know that...Smoking is a suicidal wish

Cigarettes are legally sold products that harm and kill if used as intended. Smoking causes respiratory problems, such as wheezing, coughing, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. Smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer and cancers of the mouth, throat, stomach, pancreas, bladder, or kidney. Many smokers experience panic attacks. Smoking has been linked to chest pain and heart and cardiovascular disease. In addition to compromising the immune system and causing serious damage inside the body, the poisons in cigarettes also affect a smoker's appearance. Smoking dries the skin out and causes wrinkles and cracked lips. Some research studies linked smoking to premature gray hair and hair loss.
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that with each cigarette, smokers inhale more than 4,700 chemicals, 200 poisons and 50 human carcinogens. The British Health Education Authority warns that cigarette smoke contains formaldehyde (paint and embalming fluid used in funeral homes to preserve dead bodies) in addition to phenol (disinfectant), naphthalene (mothballs), methanol (rocket fuel), benzene (petrol additive), ammonia (toilet cleaner), acetone (nail polish), cadmium (batteries), hydrogen cyanide (gas chamber poison), acrolein (chemical weapons), polonium 210 (radioactive compound), arsenic (rat poison and wood preservative), various pesticides, carbon monoxide (exhaust fumes), benzo(a)pyrene BAP (damages p53 gene that protects the body against cancer), nitrosamines (group of chemicals that damage DNA), tar, nicotine – and the list goes on.
Nicotine is an insecticide. It is a powerful addictive drug when inhaled. The addiction has the same psychological effects as a heroin addiction, interweaving itself with the deep levels of self-identity and social and physical survival instincts. About 7 in 10 individuals who tried smoking became addicted to nicotine, and half of smokers died of smoking-related disease. Every year, 20 percent of deaths are from smoking, and more than 400 thousand Americans die from smoking-related causes. Thousands of nonsmokers die of lung cancer each year because they are exposed to secondhand smoke.
Do these statistics make you angry and sad? Smoking is the leading PREVENTABLE cause of death in this country.
Unfortunately, for most people, smoking is much more than a nicotine addiction. It is a complex habit that becomes a physical, emotional, and social part of life and a tool for stress relief, coping, and self-empowerment. The physical and emotional effects of smoking endure while the smoker is attempting to quit, and withdrawal effects include depression, anxiety, restlessness, irritability, constipation, insomnia and attention deficit. Craving is believed to be the most difficult of the withdrawal symptoms because of its early onset, persistency, and severity. Withdrawal symptoms become even more severe two to five days before relapse and subside quickly after relapse. During abstinence, smokers experience headaches, mood changes, and motivational and cognitive disturbances. Negative emotions, stress, depression and anxiety further increase the likelihood of relapse.
A smoker who desires to quit the habit successfully gets good results from an integrative approach that takes into account the smoker's personal, social and economic reality. Smoking cessation in conjunction with behavioral therapy is much more effective than either approach alone, as they provide the smoker with practical tools for managing physical and psychological dependency in addition to developing positive and healthy self-image, attitude, and preference.
The best remedy? Prevention.
Be well!