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News & Updates

Meeting hopes to impact mental health issues in northwest Kansas, participation from public encouraged

  

BIRD CITY, Kan. – (Oct. 24, 2019) 

LiveWell Northwest Kansas, located in Colby, partners with the health departments of Rawlins and Cheyenne Counties, and the mental health industry to promote change and understanding of the field.

Open to the public, the first of three Regional Mental Health Forum meetings will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, Oct. 24, at the Bird City Legion Hall, 107 W. Bressler. 

Northwest Kansas professionals whose work aligns with mental health issues, as well as people who are affected personally by mental disease, are encouraged to attend. RSVP to the event by emailing one of three program coordinators: travisr@nwksprevention.com (Colby), cdouthit@cheyennecountyhospital.com (Bird City), or karlah@rawlinscounty.org (Atwood). 

The purpose of the forum is to highlight problems related to mental health in northwest Kansas. Attendants will learn about mental health issues and solutions will be identified so that actionable steps can be taken to address regional concerns.

Anyone from the entire northwest Kansas region who is interested should attend, especially including school faculty, administration and counselors, clergy, healthcare and mental health professionals, criminal justice and legal representatives, and community members with personal connections.

Regional mental health forum | Page 1 of 2

“Mental health, addiction, incarceration, poverty and trauma are discussed frequently, but no clear collaborative steps toward addressing the issues have been taken,” admits Travis Rickford, Director of LiveWell Northwest Kansas, “ We hope that by coming together, we can build regional understanding and implement collaborative efforts to truly bring about change. Only by gathering people of all sectors of our community can we hope to overcome the unique struggles of mental health.”

Rickford represents LiveWell, located in Colby, which is one of three organizations sponsoring the event. Funded by the Kansas Health Foundation as part of Health Equity Initiatives in northwest Kansas, LiveWell comes together with the Cheyenne County Health Department and Rawlins County Health Department to host this 3-part series of meetings.

“LiveWell is honored to collaborate with the public health departments of Cheyenne and Rawlins County,” said Rickford, “and we are excited to bring together other organizations, health care providers and residents to address this important issue and get to the root of the problem. We are focused on building momentum to take action.”

The meeting later this month is the first of a three-part series, explained Rickford. 

“Bringing change will not be a quick process,” he said. “The meetings will all be open to the public and facilitated by a mediator to help us better identify problems and define community-based approaches and solutions. By the end of the third meeting, we hope to have plans for action in place.”

The second and third meetings will be Dec. 5, 2019, and Jan. 7, 2020, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Bird City Legion Hall.

More information can be found online at www.LiveWellNWK.org/upcomingevents

regional mental health forum

E-cigarette Health Danger

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E-cigarette aerosol contains harmful chemicals, such as ultrafine particles, volatile organic compounds, heavy metals like nickel, tin and lead, and other cancer-causing chemicals. E-cigarettes, vapes, e-pipes, and other vaping products are battery-powered devices that allow users to inhale aerosolized liquid.

E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and harmful to the adolescent brain. Nicotine can impact learning, memory and attention span, and contributes to future addiction to tobacco and other substances.

While many of the long-term health impacts of e-cigarette use are not fully known, the causes for alarm are mounting. As of Jan. 1, the KDHE has seen approximately 20 emergency department visits throughout the state for patients with a history of vaping and some of the above-mentioned respiratory symptoms.

The FDA also recently announced that it is investigating 127 reports of seizures and neurological symptoms related to vaping, particularly among children and young adults.

Additionally, recent data related to behavioral health risks among youth has shown that Kansas students who reported using traditional tobacco products, e-cigarettes or vaping are at an increased risk of behavioral health problems.

In 2017, 10.6% of Kansas high school students reported current use of electronic vapor products. In the same year, 4.6% of Kansas adults aged 18 years and older reported current use of electronic cigarettes. Nationally, statistics show a 78% increase in e-cigarette use among high schoolers between 2017 and 2019.

Prevention - Get Vaccinated!

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a 3-step approach to fighting the flu

  • Get vaccinated
  • Take everyday prevention actions
  • Use antiviral drugs if a physician prescribes them


CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommend annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older who do not have contraindications with any licensed, age-appropriate influenza vaccine. Flu vaccine has been shown to reduce flu related illnesses and the risk of serious flu complications that can result in hospitalization or death.


Flu vaccinations should be received by the end of October, if possible. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating and unexpired flu vaccine is available then flu vaccinations should be given. Health care providers are encouraged to provide flu vaccinations during routine health care visits and hospitalizations when vaccine is available.