September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

During the month of September, organizations across the country will be calling attention to suicide prevention and awareness. Every year, 41,000 individuals die by suicide nationwide, representing the 10th leading cause of death. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 10 and 34. Anyone can experience suicidal thoughts, regardless of gender, age, race, or background. However, suicide remains a stigmatized topic, which can prevent individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts from receiving the help they need.

To recognize this preventable issue, September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, September 9-15th is National Suicide Prevention Week, and September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide prevention aims to help those who are suffering by reaching out, listening, and ending the stigma surrounding suicide and mental illness so that everyone can get the help that they need. There are many signs that someone you know may be experiencing suicidal thoughts, but these include:

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Feeling empty or shameful
  • Pulling away from family, friends, and the community
  • Giving away possessions/putting affairs in order
  • Mood changes (especially from despair to calm)

Risk factors that make individuals more vulnerable to suicide include:

  • Depression, other mental disorders, or substance abuse disorder
  • Some chronic illnesses and chronic pain
  • Prior suicide attempt(s)
  • Family history of mental disorders, substance abuse, violence, physical/sexual abuse, or suicide
  • Having guns or other firearms
  • Recent release from prison or jail
  • Exposure to others' suicidal behavior

If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255). If there is an emergency, call 911 immediately. More information on suicide prevention can be found at and

-From the Barry-Eaton District Health Department

Article posted on September 11th, 2018. - Article Permalink

Fruits and Veggies - More Matters Month

Fruits & Veggies—More Matters® is a national public health initiative created to encourage Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables—fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice. More than 90 percent of Americans eat fewer fruits and vegetables than the daily amount recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which ranges from 2 to 6 ½ cups.

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department encourages Eaton County families to increase the daily amount of fruits and vegetables they eat. Fruits and vegetables are a great way to be sure your family is getting the recommended daily value of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber and reduces the chance of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, some cancers and becoming overweight. An easy rule to follow to be sure you are getting enough nutrients is to fill half of your plate with fruits and veggies for each meal.

One local resource available to make sure that your family is getting enough nutrients is the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. Qualified individuals have access to Registered Dietitians, nutrition education and meal planning, supplemental foods, breastfeeding support, and referrals to health care. During your first visit, staff will explain how the program works. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have an infant or child under 5, you may qualify!

To see if you qualify for WIC, call the WIC office in Eaton County at (517) 541-2630. For more nutrition tips and tricks, visit the More Matters interactive website at This helpful, practical, easy to use resource is designed to help families add more fruits and vegetables to their plates. In addition to the Get Smart! Tips, this website also offers recipes, serving ideas, fruit and vegetable storage suggestions, and shopping advice.

Article posted on September 4th, 2018. - Article Permalink

The Greenhouse Project brings tradition and creativity to the ERMC Farmers Market

Brandie Medlock’s family has been creating and selling homemade jams and jellies for over 30 years. “They’ve been making those since before I was born!” Brandie laughs as she points to a rustic stand stacked with mason jars of preserves. “Jam really was the beginning of it all.”

Brandie is the president of The Greenhouse Project, a nonprofit that focuses on increasing local access to fresh produce. She sets up shop weekly in a booth at the Eaton Rapids Medical Center (ERMC) Farmers Market. Every week Brandie, her daughter, her parents (and their dogs) arrive at the market with multitudes of delicious preserves, jams, baked goods, and produce in tow.

Even though the Medlock family started out in the business of preserves, these days you can always find a variety of fresh veggies and fruit at The Greenhouse Project’s stand. Brandie told me they grow their produce at a local garden just down the road from Eaton Rapids, in Springport.

“My favorite thing to grow is the Heirloom tomatoes,” Medlock says. “We’ve tried a bunch of varieties, from the older seeds to the newer types, and we always grow them 100% organic and GMO free.”

In fact, the current produce offerings from the Greenhouse Project are just the tip of the iceberg. Brandie tells me that their real growing season is just about to begin, and customers can expect to see an abundant variety in the coming months. They expect to have peppers, leeks, onions, melons, and even pumpkins as the season progresses.

“We had a late start to the growing season this year,” she tells me, “so most of what we grow we haven’t even begun to harvest yet!”

In addition to the wonderful variety of produce the Greenhouse Project sells each week, the homemade jams and jellies on this stand are a prize all their own. Somehow, despite their low-sugar content, these spreads are packed with flavor.

When I ask how they manage to get all that flavor in without the sugar skyrocketing, Brandie tells me simply, “When you use better fruit, you need less sugar.”

The Greenhouse Project’s booth at the ERMC Market truly is a family project. Brandie’s parents Marie and Terry, her daughter Stephanie, and their beloved pups Hazel and Rosie all attend the market each week with something to contribute. Marie makes a different variety of cookies each week, bringing everything from her famous molasses cookies to oatmeal and brown sugar, and always with an emphasis on local ingredients.

Brandie’s daughter Stephanie contributes by selling her photography in ways both unique and classic. She always brings a few prints of some of her best shots of beautiful spots around the state of Michigan, but she also offers “Portraits with Your Pet” for just $10.00, a service that patrons love. It’s also important to point out that the family’s dogs are contributing too, because if you don’t have a pet of your own to pose with, you’re always welcome to have a photo taken with their adorable puppy Hazel instead.

The Greenhouse Project has been coming to the Eaton Rapids Medical Center Farmers Market for years, and Brandie says she always gets a lot out of selling local food to local customers.

“I love the engagement with the customers here,” she says. “And I enjoy being able to provide fresh food to them, especially seniors and lower-income customers, for affordable prices.”

It’s clear this family finds joy in providing delicious, healthy food for their community, and it’s wonderful to see that community supporting them in return each week at the market. Stop by the Greenhouse Project any Wednesday now through mid-October, in the Eaton Rapids Medical Center parking lot from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Whether you’re looking for affordable, fresh produce or authentic homemade treats, you won’t be disappointed with what you find.

Article posted on August 16th, 2018. - Article Permalink

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