Hand in Paw breaks ground on new headquarters

Birmingham Alabama
The dogs eagerly helped with the groundbreaking effort! – Photo by Hand in Paws.

Tuesday, Oct 24th, on an acre of land between Forest Park and Avondale Park, Hand in Paw, the nonprofit therapy animal organization, broke ground for their new headquarters. They had some help from some tenacious digging by a few of their therapy dogs. The new facility will be named for Beth Franklin, the founder of Hand in Paw.

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Guide to the best healthy grocery stores in Birmingham

Image may include: apples in healthy Birmingham grocery store
via orgharvest.com

I grew up in a small town in North Alabama. The fact that I had a Wal-Mart less than ten minutes from my house was a blessing. But, now that I live in Birmingham, I have found tons of great options for grocery shopping. In fact, so many I did not even know where to begin when it came to finding the best healthy grocery stores. But, after a couple of years in Birmingham, here’s the list I’ve put together of grocery stores I often shop at to fill my pantry for the week.

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Best places to get a healthy smoothie in Birmingham

Image may include: healthy smoothie from Sprout & Pour, Birmingham
Photo via Sprout & Pour’s Instagram page, @sproutandpour

When you’re on the go, there’s nothing better than a fresh smoothie to get you through the day. Sometimes it can be hard to find a smoothie that isn’t full of sugar. However, here’s three Birmingham smoothie joints that offer delicious and healthy options.

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Check out the technology behind UAB Medicine’s new $6.8M clinical laboratory

Ever wonder what happens to that vial of blood that is taken at your doctor’s office?   UAB employees were once analyzing up to 5,000 vials of blood each night of the week.  But, the testing process has just gotten a huge technology infusion from UAB.

UAB Medicine recently welcomed their new automated hospital laboratory.

A robot arm lifts tubes to another rack. Photo courtesy of UAB.

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Here’s to taking care of yourself from the inside out

Forget about the holidays, at times we all get stressed, worn out, depressed, anxious, under the weather or whatever you want to call the things that are affecting your mental health. Even celebrities deal with it. We’re all human, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re feeling blue.

It’s never a bad idea to be informed on your local mental health resources—whether for yourself or for others. Young, old or in-between, taking care of ourselves allows us to take care of others.

growing-inward-mental-health-graphic

When extra responsibilities and commitments are caroling at your door, the combination can leave you troubled.

Maybe it’s something different altogether, like debilitating PTSD, crippling depression or stressful anxiety that’s affecting you. It doesn’t matter one bit. Just know that help is there, waiting for all of us.

Reaching out is a courageous step! Here’s a list of local mental health resources for Birmingham, just in time for the holidays.

Photo courtesy of National Institute of Mental Health
Photo courtesy of National Institute of Mental Health

For general information, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) offers simple definitions of mental health topics and research. The topics are even divided by audience, so that you can learn about conditions for a particular population.

In the Birmingham-metro area there are a number of community-based resources for counseling, psychology and emergency mental health services for those with our without insurance. If you do have insurance, reach out to your primary healthcare provider for a referral or give the psychiatry department at UAB a call for direction.

  1. For local counseling on a sliding scale that’s geared towards women and children, try Oasis. They offer “individual, couples, group, and family counseling, as well as art therapy and play therapy. Fees are determined on the basis of a sliding fee scale.”
  2. The UAB Community Counseling Clinic “offers affordable counseling services to the residents of Jefferson County through its Community Counseling Clinic.”

    Photo courtesy of Veterans' Administration
    Photo courtesy of Veterans’ Administration
  3. For Birmingham veterans suffering from PTSD, the Birmingham VA Medical Center is a good place to start, and they even offer a suicide hotline. Their contact information and hotline number can be found here.
  4.  For healthcare services for the homeless (including mental health), Alabama Regional Healthcare Services (ARMS) “provides comprehensive urgent, acute, and primary health care services with linkages to community providers when needed.”
  5. The Jefferson County Department of Health also offers a variety of health services for individuals without insurance. Information about specific services and health department offices can be found here.

 

Singing to Preemies can Affect Their Health

Moms who sing lullabies may do more for their newborns than expected.

Studies in music therapy show when mothers sing to their premature infants, it can stabilize the baby’s heart rate and breathing. Full-term babies are able to recognize their mothers’ voices once they’re born, so allowing preemies the chance to gain this connection outside of the womb is important.

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Twins Live Longer than the Rest of Us

A new study shows that twins live longer than other people.

“There is benefit to having someone who is socially close to you who is looking out for you. They may provide material or emotional support that lead to better longevity outcomes,”

-David Sharrow, Researcher at the University of Washington.

These benefits could go beyond twins if “we […] choose to invest in social bonds as a way to promote health and longevity,” Sharrow said.

 

Call your grandparents today

© iStockphoto / Thinkstock

New studies show that close relationships between elderly people and their family members reduce their chances of passing away within in the next 5 years, compared to those who were not close to their families.

If you’re thinking, “My grandparents have lots of friends, they’re fine,” you may be wrong. Apparently, friendships didn’t have an affect on life expectancy – only family relationships.

So give grandma a call on your lunch break today – she’ll appreciate it.