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Rising Inflation is Impacting Mental Health. How the Country is Coping

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(StatePoint) It’s no secret that the country is feeling the pinch from inflation and the rising costs of goods and services, with 48% of Americans struggling to make ends meet financially, according to the latest data from Dynata’s Global Consumer Trends survey. That’s up from 34% in August of last year.

These circumstances are having a significant impact on wellness, with 53% of respondents attributing financial difficulties as being an extremely or very important contributing factor to their worsening mental health since before the pandemic. Women are feeling the impacts most. Nearly six in 10 women – 57% – say financial difficulties are the largest contributor to a decline in their mental health vs. 44% of men who say the same.

Many Americans however are finding new ways to ease the burden on their mental health. Here are a few of the habits and attitudes that have helped those who report having better mental health now than they did pre-pandemic:

  • Exercise. Getting more exercise has helped 78% of respondents achieve better mental health during this time of financial uncertainty.
  • Spending more time with hobbies and interests. Seventy-four percent of respondents have seen an improvement in their mental health by spending more time and focus on their hobbies and industries. Whether it’s knitting, playing a sport or bird-watching, taking on a new hobby can be an effective way to better your mental health.
  • Spending time with loved ones. The pandemic was a long period of separation for many, but with life back to normal, spending time with loved ones has been a proven way to boost mental health, with 74% of respondents seeing an improvement.
  • Rest. Now is a great time to sit back and take some time to relax, as 73% reported an improvement in their mental health from just taking time to rest.
  • Cooking and healthy eating. The pandemic gave many a chance to spend more time in the kitchen cooking their favorite meals. Seventy-two percent of respondents attribute cooking and healthy eating to helping improve their mental health. During these difficult financial times, spending more time in the kitchen can be a great way to help ease stress, save money on meals and of course, reap the physical and mental benefits of a good, balanced meal.
  • Work-life balance. This has been a stressful time for employees, with news of layoffs coming almost daily, on top of the already existing financial stressors. However, 72% of respondents attribute achieving a better work-life balance to lowering stress levels and improving their mental health.

For full survey results, visit https://www.dynata.com.

While many Americans are feeling the pinch right now, the good news is that proven coping strategies can help lighten the mental load.

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Leadership WV takes a closer look at state’s health care system

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Lewisburg, – With a goal of increasing awareness and understanding of the facilities, opportunities and medical philosophy at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM), Leadership West Virginia brought its 2023 class to the school’s campus Oct. 26 for tours and presentations.

WVSOM President James W. Nemitz, Ph.D., spoke to the Leadership class prior to members touring the teaching facilities.

“We are a leader in educating physicians for primary care medicine, especially in rural areas,” Nemitz said, noting that WVSOM is the state’s largest medical school, with an annual enrollment of more than 800 students.

Attracting West Virginia’s best pre-med students is a goal for WVSOM, Nemitz said, encouraging the Leadership West Virginia class members to recommend students to the school. The presentation included two videos: one on the values of osteopathic medicine and the other on why and how students should apply to WVSOM.

To a 2023 class that comprised 58 leaders from across the state, Nemitz spoke about WVSOM’s impact on West Virginia.

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According to the school’s 2023 annual report, 850 WVSOM graduates were practicing in the state in 2022.

While noted for producing primary care physicians, the school also has graduates practicing in many specialties, Nemitz said.

He said that in addition to the school’s medical value, WVSOM represents a significant economic impact on the state and nation.

“We’re delivering more than $133 million to the state in direct contributions. When you add the contributions of our alumni who practice in the state, the health care delivery hours they’re generating and our students are generating, we hit more than $1.5 billion in West Virginia. And nationwide, it’s $9 billion,” he said.

The campus tour started with HealthNet Aeromedical Services landing a helicopter on the campus parade field for a presentation on HealthNet’s services and operation.

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Earlier in the day, Nemitz joined Sherri Ferrell of the West Virginia Primary Care Association; Steve Seftchick of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield WV and Melanie Dempsey of the West Virginia Hospital Association for a panel discussion on the challenges of health care. Tony Gregory of the West Virginia Hospital Association moderated the question-and-answer session.

Health care is one of the areas of focus for Leadership West Virginia. Others include education, tourism, energy, the judicial system and the overall economy.

Full story here from The Register Herald

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Gov. Justice breaks ground, announces new Charles Calvin Rogers Veterans Nursing Facility in Beckley

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Governor's Office

Governor’s Press Office

BECKLEY, WV — Last week, Gov. Jim Justice led a groundbreaking event for a much-anticipated new veterans nursing facility in Beckley. Gov. Justice joined veterans, state and elected officials, project managers, and directors from the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance for the ceremony.

Gov. Justice also announced that the facility will be named in honor of a Southern West Virginia Vietnam Veteran and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient: Fayette County native Charles Calvin Rogers. U.S Army Major General Rogers, a native of Claremont who died in 1990, earned the Medal of Honor following acts of heroism that took place near the Cambodian border on November 1, 1968.

“This is a truly special day for West Virginia and for our veterans, especially our veterans in Southern West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “This facility is going to be one of the best in the country, and it should be, because that’s what our veterans deserve. It’s especially meaningful because we get to honor General Charles Calvin Rogers, who is a true American military hero and one of our own.”

Read the entire story here: Gov. Justice breaks ground, announces naming of Charles Calvin Rogers Veterans Nursing Facility (wv.gov)

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Dr. PS Martin Named Director of WV Office of Emergency Medical Services

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Dr. Matt Christiansen, State Health Officer and Commissioner of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ (DHHR) Bureau for Public Health, today announces Dr. PS Martin as medical director for DHHR’s Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS), effective June 23, 2023. He replaces Dr. Beth Toppins, who served as interim OEMS medical director since April 2023.

“Dr. Martin brings a wealth of knowledge to this critical position with hands-on experience as a physician in emergency departments and as the medical director for multiple EMS agencies,” said Dr. Matthew Christiansen. “His unique and specialized background in the field of emergency medical services will be an asset to West Virginia, and will continue the work of Dr. Toppins. We are grateful for her service during a period of transition.”

Dr. Martin is an associate professor of emergency medicine at WVU’s School of Medicine and an emergency room physician at WVU Ruby Memorial Hospital, and is certified by both the American Board of Emergency Medicine and the American Board of Emergency Medicine Specializing in Emergency Medical Services. Dr. Martin earned his doctor of medicine degree and bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University. 

“I am honored to lead this office, which does incredible work to support West Virginia’s EMS systems and residents,” said Dr. Martin. “I look forward to working with OEMS staff and partners to  optimize the quality of emergency care across the state and improve the job satisfaction of our dedicated EMS providers.”

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