Clinton County supporting community health 2017

MSU Extension addresses the needs for a healthy community in Clinton County.

Addressing the needs for a healthy community

In May of 2017 Educator Abigail Cudney joined the Clinton County Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) team. With a background in mental health and social work, Abigail has been placed on several work teams to provide community health education. The addition of a community health educator to the Clinton County office assures the residents that there are resources and evidence based programming available to them regarding the very important topics of social and emotional health, bullying prevention and substance abuse.

Some highlights of steps taken and a preview of programming to come:

  • Abigail has now been trained to serve as a facilitator in several social emotional health curriculums. These include: RELAX: Alternatives to Anger and Stress Less with Mindfulness.
  • Abigail has secured social work continuing education units (CEU) through lengthy application with the Michigan Social Worker Collaborative so that social workers in attendance of our programs can receive CEU’s.
  • The Building Strong Adolescents curriculum is currently going through edits and revision in order that we bring Clinton County the most up to date research based programming.
  • One-time bullying prevention presentation was presented to a teen group at Dewitt District Library. The following is a response from the youth librarian, Jacqueline Thompson, that coordinated this effort:

“Abigail Cudney came to the library to give a presentation on Bullying Prevention for our Teen community at the DeWitt District Library. Abby talked with teens about what a bully could look like and they willingly shared stories anonymously about their own experiences or understanding of bullying behavior. The teens really got excited about the drawing activities and liked being able to talk about their work to the those in attendance. Overall, teens walked away feeling more confident about recognizing bullying behavior and feeling like they could be an advocate for someone who may be in a bullying situation.”

  • Abigail has a presence at the Clinton County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition monthly meetings, and also serves on the communications committee.

Disease and Prevention Management

Abigail was trained as a facilitator in the Stanford University, research based curriculum, Chronic Pain Self-Management Program PATH (Personal Action Towards Health). MSUE partnered with the Tri-County office on Aging to provide the course at both the Independence Village in Grand Ledge and the Clinton County Medical Center. This free six week course was designed to provide the skills and tools needed by people living with Type 2 diabetes to improve their health and manage their symptoms. As a result, participants are better equipped to face the daily challenge of living with diabetes. Two trained leaders conducted the workshops (one or both also live with Diabetes).

Topics included things such as how to deal with symptoms of diabetes, fatigue pain and emotional problems that often accompany the disease such as depression, anger and frustrations. Participants also learned about exercise, healthy eating, meal planning, label reading and appropriate use of medication.

Community Behavioral Health

MSUE is responding to the current opioid epidemic through a number of avenues. Michigan communities face ongoing mental health and substance use challenges. In an effort to help support Michigan residents in this area, Michigan State University Extension offers educational programs and facilitates critical partnerships with community groups.

Educator Abigail Cudney authored an MSUE fact sheet, “Five things to know about the opioid epidemic”. Information includes statistical information relevant to Michigan, as well as national statistics, signs and symptoms of opioid abuse, and efforts we can all take to prevent opioid abuse.

As part of the Regional Opioid Symposium, Abigail initiated partnership with several county prevention coalitions throughout MI to provide an HBO documentary film screening titled, “Warning: This Drug May Kill You”. The film was followed by a panel discussion of local “experts” in awareness of the current opioid epidemic that is facing our nation.

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