Find Out How You Can Participate In National Wellness Week
By Wilma Townsend, Public Healthy Analyst, Center for Mental Health Services
As part of National Recovery Month, National Wellness Week, which runs from September 19-25, highlights ways to live a longer, healthier life if you or someone you know is in recovery from a mental or substance use disorder. People with untreated mental and substance use disorders often die decades earlier than those in the general population.
According to Million Hearts—a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next 5 years—heart disease causes one in every three deaths in the United States. Overall, Americans suffer more than two million heart attacks and strokes every year. People living with untreated mental and substance use disorders are at even greater risk than the general population of developing cardiovascular disease. The goals of the Million Hearts initiative are consistent with National Wellness Week’s focus on increasing years of life for people with mental and substance use disorders.
During National Wellness Week, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will partner with the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Women’s Health to encourage individuals to improve one physical health behavior, while exploring their talents, skills, interests, social connections, and environment. Hundreds of consumer/peer-run, faith- based, and other community organizations, as well as behavioral health and primary care providers, will host events nationwide in support of National Wellness Week and to promote the Eight Dimensions of Wellness, which are:
Social – Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system
Environmental – Promoting good health by occupying pleasant, safe, and stimulating environments that support well-being
Physical – Recognizing the need for physical activity, diet, nutrition, and sleep while discouraging the use of tobacco, drugs, and excessive alcohol consumption
Emotional – Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships Spiritual – Expanding our sense of purpose and meaning in life
Occupational – Gaining personal satisfaction and enrichment from one’s work
Intellectual – Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills
Financial – Feeling satisfied with current and future financial situations
On Friday, thousands of people across the country will put on their dancing shoes for a “Line Dance for Wellness.” Line dancing spans generations and cultures, while building community connections. It is an ideal example of how to incorporate both the physical and social dimension of wellness by bringing people together for fun and a bit of exercise.
Create a Video That Explains Government Services for a Chance to Win $1,000
If you create a video that helps people understand how to get the government benefits and services they need, you could win $1,000 and have your video seen by millions. We provide answers to the public’s most common questions, at Answers.USA.gov, but we need your help to create how-to videos that explain the process.
We are looking for videos that answer these common questions:
How do I check the status of my tax refund?
How can I apply for a government grant or loan?
How can I find a job?
How do I get a Social Security card?
How can I change my address with various government agencies when I move?
You can find the rules and more information about how to enter the contest at faq.challenge.gov. We are accepting entries until October 28, 2011.
Recognize Warning Signs to Prevent Gynecologic Cancers
From the CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
Gynecologic cancers start in a woman’s reproductive organs. The five main types of gynecologic cancer are cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar cancer.
Each gynecologic cancer has different symptoms, risk factors, and prevention strategies. All women are at risk for gynecologic cancers, and risk increases with age. When gynecologic cancers are found early, treatment is most effective.
Pay attention to your body and know what is normal for you. If you notice any unexplained symptoms, talk to your doctor right away.
Prevention and Screening
Some gynecologic cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted infection. A vaccine protects against the HPV types that most often cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. It’s recommended for 11- and 12-year-old girls.
Of all the gynecologic cancers, only cervical cancer has a screening test—the Pap test—that can find this cancer early. It is especially important to recognize warning signs, and learn if there are things you can do to reduce your risk. If you have a low income or don’t have health insurance, you may qualify for a free or low-cost Pap test through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.
Volunteer to Clean Up the World's Oceans, Coasts, and Watersheds
The International Coastal Cleanup will take place this Saturday. The cleanup is an annual event, sponsored in part by the Environmental Protection Agency, that includes over 100 countries and territories bordering every major body of water on Earth. It is the world’s largest volunteer effort to clean up the marine environment.
Last year, more than 8 million pounds of debris were removed from coastal, shoreline, and underwater sites around the world as part of the cleanup. Nearly 80 percent of the collected debris was considered disposable trash like plastic bags, bottle caps and soda bottles.
Hispanic Heritage Month takes place every year between September 15 and October 15. Although it is set aside for the nation to recognize the contributions of Hispanic Americans, the nationwide festivities are really about celebrating who we are as a country.
With its diverse food, music and language, the Hispanic culture is an integral part of the social and cultural fabric of the United States.
Below you’ll find some interesting facts about the Hispanic community, which continues to grow in both numbers and contributions to the social, economic and cultural life in the United States.
Population and language
Key Facts: Hispanics are the largest minority group in the country with more than 50.5 million people, or 16.3 percent of the population. 35 million people speak Spanish at home and more than half of those say they speak English “very well,” according to the Census Bureau.
Did you know?: The Federal Government launched the Spanish-language portal GobiernoUSA.gov in 2003 to provide meaningful and useful information for people with limited English proficiency. It’s the sister site of USA.gov. Both portals centralize information on federal programs and services.
Key Facts: Several Hispanic last names make the list of the top 15 most common last names in the United States. The most popular Hispanic last name was Garcia, in eighth place, according to the 2000 Census. Rodríguez, Martínez and Hernández took the ninth, 11th and 15th places, respectively.
Did you know?: You must let the Social Security Administration know if you change your name. Otherwise the agency will not properly record your earnings, which might affect your Social Security benefits.
Key Facts: There are currently more than 1.33 million Hispanics serving in the nation’s Armed Forces. Additionally, there are about 1.1 million Hispanics 18 years or older who are veterans of the Armed Forces.
Did you know?: Almost all males who live in the United States and are between the ages of 18 and 25 must register with the Selective Service, even those who lack proper immigration documents. This is required so that the country knows who it can enlist in case of a national emergency. Individuals who don’t register could lose government benefits or even be denied a job.
Key Facts: Hispanics are businesspeople. The number of Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States grew by 43.7% from 2002 to 2007, according to the latest census figures. The rate of growth was double that of the rest of the population.
Did you know?: The Small Business Administration offers business training as well as a wide range of financing programs to help all small businesses. The agency also has programs designed to help minority businesses, including those owned by Hispanics and women.
Key Facts: At the time of the last Census, 63% percent of Hispanics 25 and older had at least a high school education. Also, 14% of Hispanics 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree.
Did you know?: The federal government offers financial assistance such as loans and scholarships to people who want to go to college. Help is provided through Federal Student Aid, an office of the Department of Education.
Saturday is the 224th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States of America.
On September 17, 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia signed the document. All through the summer, the delegates debated and redrafted the articles of the new Constitution. At issue was how much power to allow the central government, how many representatives each state could have in Congress, and how these representatives should be elected.
By Navdeep Aujla, U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs
Winter travelers, spring break planners, day trippers to Toronto, and even those planning on attending the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, crack open your passport book for the third annual “Passport Day in the USA” on Saturday, September 17. On Passport Day you can travel to the nearest passport agency or acceptance facility and apply right away.
Although U.S. passport books and passport cards for adults are valid for 10 years, check the expiration date. Some countries require your passport to be valid for up to six months beyond the date of your stay.
Without the proper validity, you may not be able to board the plane or could even risk being denied entry into the country. To avoid any last minute headaches, confirm that the kids are also ready to go. Passports for children under the age of sixteen expire after five years.
Passport Day in the USA makes it easy to apply for a passport. No appointment is necessary, and both routine and expedited processing services will be available. Visit travel.state.gov to find an agency or participating passport acceptance facility near you, or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778 or TDD/TTY at 1-888-874-7793.
Preparing for college can be stressful, but there are lots of resources from both federal and state governments that can help you decide if college is right for you, and if so, how to finance your education.
College.gov shows you how to avoid scams targeted at college students as you learn the best ways to fund your education. You can also find the best college to fit your goals, find tips for preparing to take the ACT and SAT exams and college prep advice based on your current year in high school.
Federal Student Aid
Three main types of financial aid are available – grants, work-study programs and federal loans. The Department of Education offers tips on preparing for college, setting money aside in advance and repaying loans once you’re out of school.
529 plans are qualified tuition plans to help you pay ahead of time for a college education. With 529 plans, you have two options – the prepaid tuition plan or college savings plan. The prepaid tuition plan locks in your tuition rate before you attend college but only covers tuition and fees. The college savings plan doesn’t have a locked in rate, but covers tuition, room and board, fees and books.
Other State Resources
Many states offer their own scholarships and grants. Your college’s financial aid office is the best source of information about these state programs. The Department of Education also provides a list of state agencies that can help with financial aid.
Hospital Patients Can Now Choose Their Own Visitors
Patients in Medicare- and Medicaid-participating hospitals now have the right to choose their own visitors during a hospital stay, regardless of whether or not the visitors are family members.
According to new guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, hospitals can’t discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.
Patients will also be allowed to name a person of their choice, including a same-sex partner, to make medical decisions on their behalf if they are medically unable to do so.
The new guidance updates the Conditions of Participation, which are standards that apply to all Medicare- and Medicaid-participating hospitals, critical access hospitals, and patients in those hospitals even if they aren’t on Medicaid or Medicare.
Hospitals will need to have written policies that explain visitation rights, as well as clear guidance on when hospitals may restrict access based on reasonable clinical needs.
You can buy new, seized, and surplus merchandise and real estate from the government. Some items are sold online by auction or fixed price sales. Others are available by public auction, sealed bid, or contract with a Realtor.
Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, DC, and Shanksville, PA. Please observe a moment of silence on September 11 at 8:46 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time to honor the victims.
The anniversary is a day to remember those we lost, and to stand with their families and loved ones. It’s a time to honor all victims of terrorism, including those who have been targeted by al Qaeda and other groups around the globe.
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, many Americans were compelled to serve their fellow citizens and communities. As a tribute to that spirit, this Sunday will be the third official National Day of Service and Remembrance. This year, more than 1 million Americans are expected to serve in their communities. Service projects range from food drives and home repairs to neighborhood cleanups and disaster preparation activities. You can find volunteer opportunities in your town at Serve.gov.
After a summer of driving without school buses, these tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can help you drive safely near school buses and bus stops.
Watch for children walking in the street and playing near bus stops. Kids may dart into the street if they are late to catch the bus.
Watch the bus for flashing lights or signals
Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop. You should slow down and also prepare to stop.
Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm mean children are getting on or off the bus. Stop and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before you start driving again.
Newborn screening identifies conditions that can affect a child’s long-term health or survival. Early detection, diagnosis, and intervention can prevent death or disability and enable children to reach their full potential. Each year, millions of babies in the U.S. are routinely screened, using a few drops of blood from the newborn’s heel, for certain genetic, endocrine, and metabolic disorders, and are also tested for hearing loss prior to discharge from a hospital or birthing center.
How To Decide If Prostate Cancer Screening is Right For You
From the CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Men have a greater chance of getting prostate cancer if they’re 50 years old or older, are African-American, or have a father, brother, or son who has had prostate cancer.
Currently, there is not enough credible evidence to decide if the potential benefit of prostate cancer screening outweighs the potential risks. The potential benefit of prostate cancer screening is finding cancer early, which may make treatment more effective. Potential risks of screening include false positive test results (the test says you have cancer when you don’t), treatment of prostate cancers that may never affect your health, and side effects from treatment.
Informed Decision Making
Is prostate cancer screening right for you? Talk to your doctor to learn the nature and risk of prostate cancer and the benefits and risks of the screening tests. Then make a decision consistent with your preferences and values.
The White House will soon be launching a new program called “We the People” to give you the chance to share your ideas directly with the administration.
On Whitehouse.gov, you will be able to create or sign a petition seeking action by the federal government. Then you can encourage your friends and family to sign the petition as well.
If a petition receives enough signatures, it will be reviewed by the administration’s policy experts and an official response will be issued. The President will also answer some of the petitions himself.
Whether you’re thinking about opening a new business or you’re trying to strengthen or expand an enterprise you already have, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is there to help.
The SBA is a federal agency that helps small businesses grow and succeed. It provides business counseling and training, and offers a wide range of financing programs such as loans and grants.
Counseling and Training
You can get immediate help from the SBA by taking one of its online training courses on how to start, manage and finance a business. Each subject features a variety of courses about successful business management.
The SBA also works with community centers that provide free or low-cost training and mentoring. For example, SCORE is a nonprofit organization comprised of volunteer counselors with extensive experience in the business world. SCORE provides mentoring and counseling services to new business owners.
Finally, you can always visit local or regional SBA offices for support. These offices are located throughout the country and can counsel you on:
How to find your local women’s business centers
How to get technical assistance
How to get disaster assistance
Access to Capital
A lot of people think the SBA lends money. The truth is that it only guarantees loans made by financial institutions such as banks. SBA-backed loans can be very attractive because they generally have low interest rates and longer repayment terms.
The SBA offers several loan programs, including:
7(a) Loan Program: This program is for businesses operating in specific industries such as exports or for businesses located in rural areas or underserved communities. Active duty military personnel and veterans can also benefit from these types of loans.
Micro-Loan Program: This program is for certain small businesses and nonprofit organizations, including childcare centers. The maximum loan amount is $50,000, which can be used to pay for inventory or purchase equipment. However, money from these loans cannot be used to pay debt or to purchase real estate.
CDC/504 Loan Program: This is a program for businesses looking for long-term financing. The money can be used to purchase real estate, new facilities and machinery or equipment. The program has several stipulations, including one that requires the funds to be used to encourage economic development in a community.
You can get more information about some of these programs as well as additional local resources by going to SBA Direct.
Other Types of Financing
Besides guaranteeing loans, the SBA can also help entrepreneurs locate other types of financing, such as grants. It’s important to note that the SBA does not provide grants for starting or expanding a business. The agency does provide grants to nonprofits and educational organizations for counseling and training purposes.
Local and state governments do provide grants to small businesses, specifically those involved in childcare, energy efficiency and local tourism. You can learn more about the different types of government grants available by visiting Grants.gov.
Business.USA.gov also provides information about how small business owners can access financing.
Find Out Which Drugs Are Safe for Breastfeeding Mothers
By the Specialized Information Services Division of the National Library of Medicine
Women often wonder if a certain drug is safe to take while breastfeeding. LactMed, from the National Library of Medicine, is a free online tool with information that addresses those safety concerns.
You can find information about several hundred prescribed drugs, including
the safe level of a drug in a mother’s milk
the safe level of a drug in a infant’s blood
possible effect of a drug on a breasting feeding infant
effects on lactation
other safe alternative medications
In addition to prescription drugs, LactMed also lists supplements used in alternative medicine such as lecithin, milk thistle, stinging nettle and St. John’s wort. The focus is on those supplements that are used by nursing mothers, like those claiming to stimulate milk production.
You can also use the LactMed app for iPhone/iPod Touch and for Android devices.
Americans Devoted 8.1 Billion Hours to Volunteering in 2010
Research released by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service also shows that Generation X (born 1965-1981) served 110 million more hours than ever before, giving them a 2010 grand total of 2.3 billion volunteer hours.
The states with the highest volunteer rates were:
You can get involved by finding volunteer opportunities in your community, including for the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance, at Serve.gov.