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Health briefs: Urgent need for blood before summer ends; Grief support group offered for parents

Urgent need for blood before summer ends

As summer winds down, the American Red Cross urges individuals to give blood and platelets now and help end an emergency summer blood shortage that began last month. A critical need remains as many regular donors delay giving to take final summer vacations and prepare for school to start. To ensure lifesaving treatments remain available for patients in the coming weeks, donations are needed now, especially type O. In thanks for helping at this urgent time, all those who come to donate blood or platelets through Aug. 30 will receive a $5 Gift Card via email. Restrictions apply; see More information and details are available at To make an appointment to donate blood, download the free American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 800-RED CROSS.

Support group offered in Cottage Grove for parents grieving loss of a child

A group for parents and grandparents grieving after the death of a child will begin meeting Sept. 19 at South Washington County Schools Program Center, 8400 E. Point Douglas Road, Cottage Grove. The five-class series meets 6:30 to 8 p.m. monthly with the following topics:

• Sept. 19 — Common reactions to grief

• Oct. 17 — It's a family affair

• Nov. 14 — Navigating the holidays

• Dec. 19 — Special days/special challenges

• Jan. 16 — Unwrapping the holidays

Price is $55 per person and $85 per couple for the five sessions. The group is facilitated by Donna Mathiowetz, author of "A Journal for Your Journey" and creator of the "Journey Card Deck." To register visit or call 651-425-6650.

Mini-grant deadline is Aug. 30 for Goodhue County health initiatives

Live Well Goodhue County, the local initiative of the Minnesota Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP), is seeking partners to help with its mission to improve the health of residents, help fuel initiatives that will "make the healthy choice the easy choice," and update policies, change systems and improve environments. The deadline to apply for funding is Thursday, Aug.30. To review guidelines, requirements and an application, visit

Mini-grants can provide funding up to $1,500. For more information contact David Anderson, Live Well Goodhue County Coordinator at 651-385-6148 or email

Learn about being a licensed child care provider in Washington County

Washington County residents interested in becoming a licensed family child care provider in the county may take the first step and attend an orientation 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23. Meetings are in Lower Level Conference Room 13 in the Washington County Government Center in Stillwater. Use the parking on the west side and enter the Government Center, which is at 14949 N. 62nd St. N. Basic information regarding the family child care program and requirements for licensing will be discussed. Attendance is required at one of these meetings before a license can be issued. Call Annie Walton at 651-430-6539 to register. The meeting is free.

Guided fitness hikes in Lake Elmo

Explore the Washington County Parks trail system with guided fitness hikes, with the next hike at 9 to 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 23, at Lake Elmo Park Reserve. The one-hour hikes involve a warm-up and fitness challenges along the way. Trails are a mix of turf, gravel, grass, snow and pavement depending on trail conditions, time of year and location. Plan to arrive 10 minutes early. If light rain, hike will go on as scheduled. The program is for those ages 13 and older. All minors must be accompanied by an adult. All guided fitness hikes are at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve Thursdays from 9 to 10 a.m. and will meet at the Nordic Center. The continuing 2018 schedule is:

• Sept. 6

• Sept. 20

• Oct. 4

• Nov. 1

• Dec. 6

These programs are free with a parks vehicle permit ($7/day or $30/annual) with the exception of Free Tuesdays.

Mental health support groups meet in St. Paul

A peer support group for LGBTQ adults living with a mental illness meets weekly in St. Paul. Sponsored by NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and led by trained facilitators who are also in recovery, the free support group meets 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturdays at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 700 Snelling Ave. S, in Room 108. For more information, call Brianna at 763-334-6318 or Alec at 952-334-6318.

A NAMI Connection free peer support group for adults recovering from mental illness meets weekly in St. Paul. Trained facilitators who are also in recovery lead NAMI Connection groups. The group meets noon to 1:30 p.m. Mondays at Hamm Psychiatric Memorial Clinic, 408 St. Peter Street, Suite 429, in St. Paul. Check in at front desk when you arrive. For more information, contact Mary at 612-387-7036.

New community mental health services receive more than $2M in funding

A new behavioral health care center, emergency department case management, and transition services to community programs are just some of the innovative services that will be available soon in Minnesota as a result of the Mental Health Innovation Grant Program. The Minnesota Department of Human Services has awarded six grants to counties, tribes and non-profits, all focused on helping people with mental illness receive effective services in their community.

Among the recipients is the American Indian Family Center: Healing Journey, serving the American Indian community in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties, which received $218,425 to bring culturally specific and responsive services to the urban Indian population through a multidisciplinary team of mental health staff and community consultants.

The new Mental Health Innovation Grant Program is dedicated to improving access to and the quality of community-based, outpatient mental health services. A major goal of the program is to help people avoid stays in state regional treatment centers, community behavioral health hospitals and psychiatric hospitals, and expedite discharges for those who are in state facilities once they no longer meet medical criteria for hospital-level care.

"These new resources provide the opportunity to get people mental health care right in their community," Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper said. "Innovation is key — we need to try new approaches while focusing on community resources that can really make a difference for people." Part of Minnesota's 2017 legislative package, the innovation program offered $2.171 million in grants for state fiscal years 2018/2019. Funds for this grant program come from revenue captured from the county share of treatment costs for people receiving care at Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center and the Community Behavioral Health Hospitals.

Overdose Awareness Day Vigil is Aug. 31 in Minneapolis

Minnesota Overdose Awareness will present the ninth Overdose Awareness Day Vigil, sponsored by Native American Community Clinic, 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31, at Church of Gichitwaa Kateri, 3045 Park Avenue South, Minneapolis. In association with International Overdose Awareness Day, Minnesota Overdose Awareness is hosting an event as a way to remember those who have died as a result of drug overdose and to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. An Overdose Tribute Video is being created to honor loved ones and friends lost to the overdose epidemic. The tribute video will be shown during this year's 9th Overdose Awareness Day Vigil ceremony, event details above. If you would like to add a loved one to the video, please send name, photo, and life date to by Aug. 25. The vigil will include speakers representing Native/Indigenous People, Military Veterans, Transgender Persons, Harm Reduction Advocates, State Government, and a variety of grassroots and other organizations engaged in various aspects of the fight against opiates and related overdoses. There will be time for sharing, several special tributes, viewing of the updated Tribute Video and Overdose Reversal Training along with Narcan Kits.

FDA Adds Warning Labels to E-Cigarettes

E-cigarettes, which have surged in popularity among Minnesota youth, will soon carry a federal warning. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires warning labels on e-cigarettes and certain other tobacco products as of Aug. 10.

Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation — a coalition of more than 60 organizations working to reduce youth tobacco use — hopes the labels raise awareness of nicotine addiction among kids. The 2017 Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey found youth tobacco rose for the first time in 17 years, driven by an explosion in e-cigarette use. "Medical professionals are sounding the alarm about nicotine addiction among our youth," said Dr. Pete Dehnel, medical director for the Twin Cities Medical Society. "We know nicotine harms the developing adolescent brain, and can predispose individuals for future tobacco use. The tobacco industry knows this too, and is trying to addict the next generation of users. These warning labels make it clear that e-cigarettes are addictive, and should be a major concern for parents."

Recent research shows e-cigarettes and other tobacco products threaten decades of progress lowering youth tobacco rates. The 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey showed e-cigarettes are now the most used tobacco product by youth, and the 2017 Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey echoed these findings. The MYTS found a nearly 50 percent surge in Minnesota high-school students using e-cigarettes — from 13 percent in 2014, to 19 percent in 2017. Easy access to e-cigarettes, prolific advertising, novel designs and kid-friendly flavors have all contributed to this increase. "E-cigarettes like JUUL and Suorin are extremely popular among students, who even use them at school," said Meghan McFarling, a recent Mounds View High School graduate. "The flavors, design and stealth factor target young people, and e-cig advertising is all over my social media feeds. Most young people don't understand the risks, and many of them become addicted to nicotine. More needs to be done to protect my generation, as well as generations to come, from these harmful products." Advocates hope these warnings will serve as a wake-up call that e-cigarette use could lead to lifetime addiction. In addition to federal action, state and local governments can also combat commercial tobacco use. Eleven Minnesota cities have passed Tobacco 21 policies, and eight have passed tobacco flavor restrictions. "Most Minnesotans agree — we must take action to keep our young people from getting hooked on commercial tobacco products in all forms," said Molly Moilanen, public affairs director of ClearWay Minnesota and co-chair of Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation. "We all bear the cost of tobacco use, and we can take common sense steps to help youth avoid this deadly addiction. Raising the tobacco age to 21, keeping tobacco prices high, restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products and funding tobacco prevention and control programs are all solutions to reduce tobacco's harm now and in the future."