Holiday Health: 12 Tips to Get You Started

Start your season with a plan to prevent

Money, feelings, health, addiction, stress, and yes, your family, can be overwhelming during the holidays. Plan to be safe, healthy, and happy by dealing with issues you can do something about.

Follow this list adapted from the Center for Disease Control’s 12 Ways to Have a Healthy Holiday Season.

► Wash hands often to prevent the spread of germs.

It’s flu season. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds.

 Stay dry and warm.

Wear light, warm layers, gloves, hats, scarves, and waterproof boots.

 Manage stress.

Give yourself breaks. Schedule downtime each day to reduce stress, relax, and prepare for what’s next. Talk to a friend or professional. And get plenty of sleep.

 Avoid alcohol and drug dangers.

Never drink and drive. Don’t use drugs or misuse alcohol.

 Be smoke-free.

Smoking and secondhand smoke causes many deadly health risks. Tobacco smoke increase chances of catching pneumonia, cold, and flu.

 Fasten all seat belts.

Always buckle children in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to their height, weight, and age. Adults need to do the same, even for short rides.

 Talk to your health care providers.

Take screenings. Schedule exams. Update your personal and family history.

 Get your vaccinations.

Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives. Ask your doctor which vaccinations you and your children should have.

 Watch the kids.

Keep dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items, and other objects out of reach. Paying attention can protect children from drowning, burns, falls, and other accidents.

► Practice fire safety.

Don’t leave fireplaces, space heaters, cooking food, or candles unattended. Don’t try to heat your home with unsafe methods like grills.

 Prepare food safely.

Wash hands and surfaces often. Cook and refrigerate foods properly.

 Eat healthy, stay active.

Eat fruits and vegetables for nutrients. Limit foods high in fat, salt, and sugar. Be active at least 2½ hours a week. Kids and teens should be active at least one hour a day.

Visit Partners’ Whole Person Integrated Care page to see how your mental, physical, financial, and social stability affects your health.

Cleveland County Project Awarded for Improving Lives

Community recognized for tackling social issues affecting health

From free haircuts for kids to workforce readiness for adults, the Partnership for Community Prosperity offers people in west Shelby ways to combat adverse social issues affecting community health.

West Shelby in Cleveland County, NC, was honored by the North Carolina Council of Community Programs with a Programs of Excellence Award for Prevention, Outreach and Wellness for creating child and adult resources to address social determinants of health.

“We don’t do it for the community, we do it with them,” said Chris Gash, Community Coordinator for the Partnership for Community Prosperity project in Cleveland County. “I am grateful for the partnerships with agencies in the community. And the public is grateful and excited to have these opportunities for the first time. We’re serious about what we’re doing and very strategic about the trust and relationships we create to meet the needs of and empower an entire community.”

For the past year, citizens and agencies have rallied around the idea of strengthening their own communities through the partnership created by Cleveland County Schools, Cleveland County Government, Partners, and Benchmarks.

Read all about the partnership’s award and learn everything you need to know about the partnership on Partner’s website at

Enrollee Navigator

Medicaid or locally-funded services: Which do you qualify for?


Partners covers behavioral health services for people without health insurance, people who are underinsured, and people with Medicaid. Currently, people on Medicaid have access to more services. Here’s how to find out which group you are in.

Determine Medicaid Eligibility
The first thing you should do is check with your local Department of Social Services (DSS) to determine if you are eligible for Medicaid. To be eligible for Medicaid-covered services you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or provide proof of eligible immigration status
  • Be a resident of North Carolina
  • Have a Social Security number or have applied for one
  • Apply and be approved for Medicaid at your local DSS office
  • Qualify for one of the Medicaid aid categories

Already receiving federal assistance?
If you are currently receiving Social Security Insurance (SSI), Special Assistance to the Blind, Work First Family Assistance, or Special Assistance for the Aged or Disabled, you are automatically eligible for Medicaid and do not have to apply at the DSS.

For those not eligible for Medicaid
If you can’t have Medicaid, you may get services funded locally with state and county dollars. Locally-funded service eligibility is based on these factors:

  • Consumer or family income
  • Number of dependents
  • A documented medical need for services

Consumers and families who receive locally-funded services are subject to a sliding fee scale, and may have to pay a part of the service bill. Partners has a limited amount of state funds to pay for treatment services. Therefore, service entry requirements and benefit maximums may be different than the Medicaid requirements for the same service.

Already have insurance?
You should tell Partners and your provider if you have insurance other than Medicaid. This could include Medicare or private insurance. Federal law requires your other insurance to pay the claim before Medicaid will cover the rest.

If you have any questions about what services you might need and what help you may get to pay for them, call the Partners Access to Care Department at 1-888-235-HOPE (4673).

In the Community 

Public Comment: Section 1115 Waiver Application

North Carolina is amending their 5-year section 1115 demonstration application previously submitted on June 1, 2016. The amended application requests to implement managed care transformation for Medicaid beneficiaries including incorporating tailored plans for some populations. Additional proposed programs under the amended application include the development of a substance use disorder program, expansion of the provider loan repayment program, building a behavioral health home care program, and piloting new programs such as telemedicine and regional resource management for unmet needs. The federal comment period is open until January 5, 2018. Visit to View the Pending Application and to View or Submit a Public Comment.

“Fighting the Winter Blues” Presentation

Do you or someone you know experience decreased levels of energy in the winter? What about fatigue or difficulty concentrating? Do you sleep more or find yourself wanting to be alone? Maybe it is the “holiday blues.” Seasonal Affective Disorder can show it’s face in many forms. Not everyone has a formal diagnosis, but anyone can be seasonally affected. Partners Training Academy invites you to an evening chat about Seasonal Affective Disorder to discuss signs, voice your concerns, and discuss options to feel better. Join presenter Lachelle Freeman, Project Director-Utilization Management, Partners BHM, on Monday, January 8, 2018, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at Patrick Beaver Memorial Library, 375 3rd Street NE, Hickory, NC. Come learn some ways to boost your mood and “Fight the Winter Blues!”

DATE CHANGE: Burke County Child Collaborative January meeting

The collaborative will meet on Monday, January 8, from 8:30-10 a.m., at the Foothills Higher Education Center-Room 211, at 2128 S. Sterling Street, Morganton, NC. The Community Collaborative serves as the body supporting Child and Family Teams and the development of their local System of Care. Partners, the local Department of Social Services, juvenile justice staff, and other behavioral health provider agencies work together, along with families and family support organizations, to assist individuals receiving services through the public behavioral health care system. If you are interested in learning more about this group or attending a meeting, please contact Kim Rhoads at or 828-323-8049.

Darkness to Light Training

The Burke County Child Collaborative is sponsoring this training on Monday, January 8, from 2-4 p.m., at the Foothills Higher Education Center-Room 211, at 2128 S. Sterling Street, Morganton, NC. The Darkness to Light training is free and is provided as an effort to prevent childhood sexual abuse by increasing awareness and education in communities. Participants receive a certificate upon completion. For more information, contact Kim Rhoads at 828-323-8049 or

Join the Movement: Youth Mental Health First Aid

Attention teachers, coaches, social workers, faith leaders, and any individuals who regularly have contact with young people ages 12-18! A young person you know could be experiencing a mental health or substance use problem. Learn an action plan to help. Sometimes first aid isn’t a bandage or CPR or calling 911, sometimes, first aid is YOU. Register today for a Youth Mental Health First Aid training on Wednesday, January 10, 2018, from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., at First Plaza, 1985 Tate Boulevard SE, Hickory, NC, in the downstairs Multipurpose Room. *You must be at least 18 years old to take this training. Register online by is January 5, 2018. For more information, contact Kim Rhoads at 828-323-8049 or

Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) Suicide Prevention Training

Participants of QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) trainings learn to recognize warning signs of a suicide crisis and to question, persuade, and refer someone for help. Become a Gatekeeper for your community! Attend QPR Suicide Prevention training on Thursday, January 11, 2018, from 2-4 p.m., at First Plaza, 1985 Tate Boulevard SE, Hickory, NC, in the downstairs Multipurpose Room. Register online by January 8, 2018. Contact Michael Smith at 828-325-4693 or for more information.

Behavioral Health Focus is published on the first and third Tuesday of each month and is intended to be a source of information for those working or interacting with behavioral health care in Burke, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Surry and Yadkin Counties. If you would like to contribute, contact Jeff Brucato at 704-884-2564 or Items should be submitted by Wednesday at 3 p.m. for the next week’s issue.

Volume 3 – Issue 10
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