May is Mental Health Month, with May 7 designated National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. But for two members of Newtown’s Resiliency and Recovery Team (RRT), every day since their arrival brings them greater awareness of local youths’ mental health concerns post 12/14. They told The Newtown Bee this week that many local young people continue to experience, or are just beginning to develop stress, anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues as the community continues to cope with after effects of the Sandy Hook tragedy. The upside for local children, teens, and their families: Catherine Galda, LCSW, and Eileen Rondeau, RN, bring unique insights about addressing and supporting youth and family concerns.
Visiting Angels and St Rose Parish have decided to bring Dr Susan Varano back to Newtown to continue a discussion on what to expect with a normal aging process. When the group brought Dr Varano to town for a program in March, more than 100 people attended. When she returns for another free presentation on Tuesday, May 12, Dr Varano will again educate seniors about the physical and cognitive aspects of aging and the signs of early dementia. In “The Normal Biology of Aging versus Dementia,” Dr Varano will share how to identify the differences and manage realistic expectations of the aging process.
From corporate car washes to flocking pink flamingos, supporters of this year’s abbreviated Relay For Life are working to support and promote the June 13 event, and to attract more teams to Blue & Gold Stadium for this annual community cancer awareness and fundraising event. According to Alyssa Amaturo, American Cancer Society’s community manager for Newtown’s Relay, the goal of a monthlong May sign-up challenge is to get even more community members on board to make the 2015 event as exciting as ever, given the fact that the local event is packing virtually all of the traditional Relay activities into a shorter time frame than in years past.
The Newtown Lions Club will sponsor the May 11 American Red Cross Blood Drive taking place at Newtown Congregational Church, 14 West Street. The May 11 drive will be conducted from 8:30 am to 6:15 pm. Walk-ins are welcome but reservations are encouraged.
In the summer of 2014, Newtown Health Director Donna Culbert received a notice from the state Department of Health flagging the presence of an emerging but rare infectious disease that had been isolated in several ticks in Connecticut, that also turned up in a number of other states, including neighboring New York, Pennsylvania, and Maine. The tickborne Powassan virus neuroinvasive disease (POWV) was first identified in Connecticut in 2008, Ms Culbert said, and has since been found in local deer populations. “It’s important to know there have been no human cases of the disease reported in Connecticut since it was discovered in 2008,” Ms Culbert said. “And the symptoms are only developing in a segment of those exposed.”
Winter formally ended a few weeks ago, but the weather has not yet fully warmed up. Regardless, Donna Culbert, the director of heath at the Newtown Health District, knows what that means: it’s tick season. This weekend’s weather is predicted to be beautiful and many, many people will be outside enjoying the weather, working in their yards, hiking on trails, and just soaking it in. And the ticks will be out too.
Lee Ives of Dental Associates will host a free CPR training program open to the community on Sunday, April 12, from 10 am to 1 pm, at the Dental Associates office on Church Hill Road. In order to help educate the community on easy, lifesaving tools, Ms Ives has offered her time and the use of Dental Associate’s equipment to bring the community-based program Heartsaver CPR to Newtown.
The Newtown Health District is highlighting all of its partners as they spring into the season by encouraging residents and town workers to get outdoors and get moving. The Newtown VNA heard from Director of Health Donna Culbert at its recent monthly meeting about the importance of building on the Heart Health sentiment started in February. Members learned on April 7 about the importance of knowing their numbers (weight, waist measurement, body mass index, cholesterol, blood sugar, triglycerides) as well as the importance of knowing the signs of heart attack and stroke, and the life-saving value of CPR and automatic external defibrillators. Now in April we are building on American Heart Association’s National Start Walking Day, and here in Newtown, we are making April Newtown’s Start Walking Month,” the health official said Tuesday afternoon.
Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman and Access Health CT CEO Jim Wadleigh have announced a special enrollment for residents who did not have health care coverage in 2014 and are subject to a tax penalty on their 2014 federal taxes. Special enrollment began April 1 and continues through midnight April 30.
Sandy Hook resident Bob Schmidt was recently honored with The Samuel T. Gladding Unsung Hero Award. He received the award on March 14, during the American Counseling Association World Conference in Orlando, Fla. The American Counseling Association is a 55,000 member organization with branches all over the world. Mr Schmidt is a licensed professional counselor with a practice in Sandy Hook.