Monday, October 26, 2015

Utah Launches Man Therapy™ to Help Men Maintain their Mental Health the “Manly Way”

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Adult men represented approximately three of every four suicide deaths in Utah last year. Today, the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition announced the launch of a new statewide campaign for working-aged men to erase the stigma surrounding mental health. Man Therapy™ reshapes the conversation, using humor to cut through stigma and tackle issues like depression, divorce, and even suicidal thoughts head on, “the way a man would do it.”

Man Therapy provides men approaching crisis, and the people who care about them, a place to go and learn more about men’s mental health, examine their own mental health, and consider a wide array of actions that will put them on the path to treatment and recovery, all within an easy-to-access online portal at

The campaign brings to life a fictional character, Dr. Rich Mahogany, a man’s man who is dedicated to cutting through the denial and gives practical, useful advice for men. “The straightforward and humorous approach of Man Therapy debunks the age-old stigma that says mental health disorders are an unmanly sign of weakness,” said Kimball Gardner, Program Director with the National Alliance on Mental Illness Utah.

“The campaign’s racy humor may raise some eyebrows but when it comes to preventing suicide among this hard-to-reach audience, we needed to try something out-of-the-box that is still research-based,” said Andrea Hood, Suicide Prevention Coordinator with the Utah Department of Health. “We expect to see similar success to that of other states.” 

Man Therapy was developed in Colorado and is now available in Idaho, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. To date,
  • More than 85,000 men have taken the Man Therapy 18-Point Head Inspection, a five-minute online quiz to assess a person’s mental health, and receive their individualized results and suggestions for therapy.
  • More than 25,000 men have clicked on the national suicide crisis line phone number provided on the site.
  • More than 11,000 men have clicked to identify a counselor or therapist.
  • 83% of website visitors would recommend Man Therapy to a friend in need.
  • 60% of website visitors would definitely or very likely take action and use the information and strategies provided to seek help and improve their mental health.

“This campaign goes beyond just awareness to really engage men and draw them into the conversation,” said Kim Myers, Suicide Prevention Coordinator with the Department of Human Services. “We feel it is critical to bring this important tool to Utah to reach both men and their loved ones. With Man Therapy, you can learn about mental health and the options to increase your mental health wellness range from do-it-yourself techniques all the way to professional therapy and resources.” 

A total of 555 Utahns died from suicide in 2014. All suicidal thoughts, behaviors, and attempts should be taken seriously. Get help 24/7 by calling the UNI CrisisLine at 801-587-3000 or the National Suicide Prevention LifeLine at 1-800-273-TALK. Help is also available at

To learn how to tackle life’s stressors and improve your mental health, visit or 

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Media Contacts:
Andrea Hood
Utah Department of Health
(o) 801-538-6599
Kimball Gardner
(o) 801-869-2877 (m) 719-964-1418

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Utah Minorities Continue to Lag Behind in Health

(Salt Lake City, UT) – While Utah consistently ranks among the nation’s “healthiest states,” a new report released by the Utah Department of Health Office of Health Disparities (OHD) shows that major health concerns still exist among Utah’s rapidly growing minority communities. 

“Roughly one out of every five Utahns belong to an ethnic or racial minority group other than White. In fact, several cities in Salt Lake County are projected to be minority-majority communities within the next 20 years,” said Jake Fitisemanu, Outreach Coordinator with the OHD. “As the population diversifies, the data provided in our report can help policymakers, public health agencies, and health care institutions better plan for the needs of our minority community members.” 

While the data showed many health indicators have not improved significantly over time, several notable improvements were seen. For example, colon cancer screening is more common among Hispanics/Latinos aged 50 and older in 2015 than it was 15 years ago. Additionally, there has been an increase in mammograms among Asians and Blacks/African Americans as well as an increase in folic acid consumption among Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders women. And all racial/ethnic groups saw a decrease in teen pregnancy.

The 2015 Health Status by Race and Ethnicity report is the third edition in a series spanning 15 years. Data in the reports cover approximately 70 health topics, ranging from cancer and chronic diseases to maternal health and preventive services. Data compared underrepresented communities to the state population overall, and, where feasible, to previous editions of the report. Not all of the topics from the 2005 report were included in the 2010 or 2015 reports, and some indicators were measured with different methodologies; however, the reports can help identify general community health trends.

The full report is available at  

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Media Contact:
Jake Fitisemanu
Office of Health Disparities 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Halloween Should Be Fun, Not Dangerous for Children: Kids 2x as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day

(Salt Lake City, UT) – On average, twice as many kids are killed while walking on Halloween than on any other day of the year. But a few simple precautions for kids and drivers can make the night fun and safe.

Safe Kids Utah, led by the Utah Department of Health, has joined together with FedEx® to promote pedestrian safety this Halloween. FedEx volunteers are teaming up with 159 local Safe Kids coalitions in towns and cities across the United States to provide reflective materials and safe walking information to parents and children.

“On Halloween, more children are out-and-about after dark than normal. They are so excited that they may run out into the street without thinking,” said Cambree Applegate of Safe Kids Utah. “We’re asking drivers to take extra care and slow down on neighborhood roads. And, of course, it’s very important that drivers put down mobile devices to avoid distraction.”

Halloween safety tips for kids:
  • Costumes can be both creative and safe. The most important thing is to make sure you can be seen by drivers. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors. Masks can obstruct your vision, so choose non-toxic face paint and make-up whenever possible. Carry glow sticks or flashlights so you can see better, as well as be seen by drivers.
  • Cross the street safely at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Look left, right, and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
  • Put electronic devices down and keep heads up. Walk, don’t run, across the street.
  • Walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  • Slow down and stay alert. Watch out for cars that are turning or backing up and don’t dart out into the street or cross in between parked cars. Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
Halloween safety tips for drivers:
  • Slow down in residential neighborhoods. Remember that popular trick-or-treating hours are from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • Be especially alert and take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians, and on curbs. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
  • Reduce any distractions inside your car, such as talking on the phone or eating, so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
For more tips to keep your kids safe on Halloween, and throughout the year, visit or visit our Facebook page at

Safe Kids Utah works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the number one cause of death for children in the United States. Its members include Primary Children’s Hospital, Utah Department of Public Safety, Utah Safety Council, University of Utah Hospital, Local Health Departments, Zero Fatalities, Utah State PTA, AAA, Utah Poison Control Center, and the Utah Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Safe Kids Utah is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Utah was founded in 1997 and is led by the Utah Department of Health.

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Media Contact:
Cambree Applegate
Safe Kids Utah Coordinator
(o) 801-538-6852 (m) 435-862-8773

Friday, October 9, 2015

Take Control of Your Arthritis: 1 out of every 5 Utahns suffer from chronic joint pain

(Salt Lake, UT) – New data released by the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) show that one out of every five adults in Utah – more than 400,000 people – have arthritis. Data also show that arthritis is the leading cause of disability and activity limitation in Utah. But the good news is people with arthritis can manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

“Although there is no cure for most types of arthritis, early diagnosis and proper management can greatly improve your quality of life,” said Rebecca Castleton, program manager for the UDOH Arthritis Program.

The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, usually causing joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness. While arthritis can affect anyone, women and those over the age of 45 are at greater risk of developing symptoms. Previous joint injuries, a family history of arthritis, and being overweight also increase your risk of getting arthritis.

Tips to reduce arthritis pain and improve your quality of life include:
  • Keep those joints moving. Research shows that low-impact exercises such as walking, bicycling, and swimming can decrease arthritis pain.
  • Learn how to manage your arthritis. Free self-management education classes, such as Living Well with Chronic Conditions, are available statewide to help people suffering from arthritis learn techniques for managing pain. To find a class near you, visit
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight places more stress on your joints and contributes to joint pain. Losing even 10 pounds can reduce the stress on each knee by up to 40 pounds and the stress on each hip by 30 pounds.
  • Talk to your doctor. Early diagnosis and proper management is important, especially for inflammatory types of arthritis. For example, early use of disease-modifying drugs can change the course of rheumatoid arthritis. If you have symptoms of arthritis, talk to your doctor and begin appropriate treatment as soon as possible.
  • Protect your joints. Learning how to avoid excess stress on your joints will make doing daily tasks easier. For example, using your forearms or palms to carry your grocery bag instead of your fingers can help ease arthritis pain.

October 12, 2015 is World Arthritis Day, a global initiative bringing people together to raise awareness of issues affecting people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. Additional information on World Arthritis Day is available at

For more information about managing your arthritis, including a list of arthritis exercise and self-management classes across the state, visit  

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Media Contact:
Rebecca Castleton
Utah Arthritis Program
(o) 801-538-9340 (m) 253-503-9755

Monday, October 5, 2015

UDOH Releases Annual Report on Healthcare-associated Infections

(Salt Lake City, UT) – The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) has released the 2014 hospital-specific report of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in licensed hospitals.* The report provides information on specific types of HAIs that are reportable in Utah, including central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSIs), catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), surgical site infections (SSIs) associated with colon surgeries and abdominal hysterectomies, Clostridium difficile (C. diff), and Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia infections.

Utah State regulation (Rule 386‐705, Epidemiology, Healthcare-associated Infection) requires the UDOH to collect and report data on HAIs. The Utah data are self-reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) by each facility that is required to report HAIs by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
  • Overall results from 2014 show that Utah had significantly fewer CLABSIs than the national rate, but significantly more CAUTIs and colon SSIs than the national rate.
  • Utah inpatient rehabilitation facilities had significantly more CAUTIs than the national rate.
  • Utah long-term acute care facilities had significantly fewer CAUTIs than the national rate.
  • There was not a significant difference from the national rate for SSIs associated with abdominal hysterectomies.
  • Utah acute care facilities had significantly fewer C. difficile infections compared to the national rate.
  • Utah acute care facilities had significantly fewer MRSA bacteremia infections compared to the national rate.
Dr. Allyn Nakashima, UDOH State Epidemiologist says, “Utah continues to see improvement in reducing HAIs. We encourage collaborations among all healthcare facilities across the state to identify “best practices” in infection control to further reduce HAIs.”

The Healthcare-associated Infections Annual Report includes a full year of reported HAI data for 2014. Annual reports are published every October. The reports contain information for all infections required to be reported to NHSN by CMS according to the CMS Healthcare Facility HAI Reporting Requirements timeline. To read the entire HAI Report, visit

*Licensed hospitals include acute care, long-term acute care, critical access, rehabilitation, psychiatric, government and children’s hospitals.


Media Contact:
Rebecca Ward
(o) 801-538-6682 
(c) 801-352-1270

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Medically Complex Children’s Waiver Now Accepting New Applicants

(Salt Lake City, UT) – The Utah Department of Health’s (UDOH) Medically Complex Children’s Waiver will open enrollment today for the first time after being authorized by the Utah State Legislature in the 2015 General Session (H.B. 199). The program will accept applications through Thursday, October 29. This program is intended to serve children with disabilities and complex medical conditions, providing them access to respite services, as well as traditional Medicaid services. The waiver was designed as a pilot program authorized to run through June 30, 2018 and serve approximately 165 children, from birth through age 18.

In order to qualify for the Medically Complex Children’s Waiver, the child must:
Be age 0-18
Have three or more specialty physicians
Have three or more organ systems involvement
Demonstrate a level of medical complexity based on a combination of need for device-based supports, high utilization of medical therapies, and treatments and frequent need for medical intervention
Have a disability determined by the Social Security Administration or the State Medical Review Board

Unlike traditional Medicaid, only the child’s income and assets are considered when determining the child’s eligibility for this program; the parent’s income and assets are not considered.  Children currently enrolled in traditional Medicaid will not be automatically eligible for the program and will also need to apply.

Applicants will not be selected for enrollment on a first-come-first-served basis. Once the application period ends, if more than 165 applications are received, UDOH clinical staff will review the applications and base entrance into the program on the highest medical complexity and critical needs of the family, as identified through the application process.  

To apply for the program, applications must be received by the end of day on Thursday, October 29. Applications can be submitted online at Parents may also print the application and submit it by fax (801-323-1593) or by mail (UDOH, Medically Complex Children’s waiver, Division of Medicaid and Health Financing, PO Box 143112, Salt Lake City, UT 84114-3112).

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Media Contact:
Kolbi Young, Utah Department of Health
(o) 801-538-6847
(m) 801-231-6350