Shelby County Public Health Takes Holistic Approach to Mental Health and Well-being

PH WeekAbout one in every five U.S. adults experience mental illness in a given year. Additionally, one in five youth aged 13-18 will experience a severe mental disorder at some point in their lives. Despite the prevalence of mental health illness, less than half receive behavioral health care to address this important health care need.

At the forefront of today’s behavioral health concerns is an epidemic of opioid addiction, which kills 91 Americans each day, overwhelming law enforcement, health and child protective systems. This epidemic is the main factor driving the recent decline in average American life expectancy.

Shelby County Public Health recognizes the need for access to holistic care, including behavioral health support. Some Public Health initiatives that focus on mental health promotion includes:

  • Our partnership with Behavioral Health to provide Mothers and Babies Support Groups in Shelby County.
  • Collaboration with Behavioral Health to create “Lean into Life”, a local widower/widow support group.
  • Opioid Overdose Training for Law Enforcement and Responders
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) Community Conference on the lifelong impact of ACES on the entire health spectrum.
  • Shelby County Wellness Alliance partnership, including the “Feel Better” component to improve holistic wellness in Shelby County.
  • Improving access to behavioral health services for people experiencing mental illness as needed.
  • Working with the newly-created Shelby County Prevent Child Abuse Council to provide education and programming that strengthen families.

With the support of Myrtue Medical Center, the Shelby County Board of Health and our community partners, Shelby County Public Health continues to advocate and promote access for mental well-being as part of a healthy lifestyle.  Working together, we can build healthier communities and eventually, the healthiest nation, changing our future for generations to come.

Ayzlee McCarthy’s Story

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Pictured Above:  Front: Harlee Fahn, Irelynd McCarthy.  Back:  Gina Winter, RN; Michele Monson, RN; Lanette Peterson, RN; Amber McCarthy, Catie Ehlert, RN

Amber McCarthy has donated hand-made knitted hats to our nursery.  Along with the hats, Amber is also providing flu vaccine teaching sheets in her efforts to stop the spread of the flu, in honor of her daughter, Ayzlee.

Ayzlee’s Story

On Christmas Day 2014, Ayzlee Maeliana McCarthy, of Elk Horn, Iowa, was another typical 3-year-old running around having fun with family and opening up gifts.  Friday, December 26th was another day spent playing with her favorite Christmas gifts and presents from her birthday just a few weeks before, December 16th.  But on Saturday morning, December 27th, Ayzlee complained that her legs were hurting.  Her mom called the clinic and scheduled an appointment.

In the clinic, although she didn’t have any respiratory symptoms, Ayzlee was swabbed for the flu.  It was determined that she was positive for both Influenza A and Influenza B.  She also had a fever of 102.  She was sent home with Tamiflu and some for the rest of her family.  Mom was told to treat her symptoms.  A little over 24 hours later, Mom took Ayzlee to the Emergency Room for dehydration symptoms, increased heart rate and confusion.  There were still no respiratory symptoms.

Less than 10 hours later, on December 29, 2014, Ayzlee passed away from septic shock, secondary to Influenza.  Everything happened so fast and really without warning.  What seemed like a little “bug” where she was achy with a fever, turned into her struggling for breath and fighting for her life.  Ayzlee had received the flu vaccination in the fall, along with her siblings Easton and Irelynd, and her parents, Amber and Jim.  Although the flu vaccine for the 2014-2015 season was not as effective, the McCarthy family still all got vaccinated.  It is something they have always done and because of Ayzlee, will continue to do.

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Governor Terry Branstad is declaring January as “Radon Action Month” in Iowa

Radon III images (3)The state of Iowa is believed to have the largest percentage of homes in the U.S. with radon levels above “acceptable” range. That’s why experts are encouraging Iowans to test their homes.
Radon test kits are inexpensive and available at the Shelby County Environmental Health Office. The cost is $8.00. Please contact Terri Daringer, Director of Environmental Health to purchase a radon test kit at 712-755-2609.