The Sikeston organization was recently awarded $9,780 by Missouri Foundation for Health to reduce clients' and community members' seasonal flu risk through an educational campaign and vaccinations.
The vaccine, which will be offered free to the public while supplies last, arrived just this past week, said Jennifer Hartlein, director of fund development and public relations for Bootheel Counseling Services.
"The main point we want to make is that influenza is a serious health concern for our community," said Hartlein, who wrote the grant submitted to MFH.
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, a five-season (years) median report shows 792 known cases of influenza. The report confirms there were 1,063 deaths from influenza and pneumonia in Missouri in 2011.
Hartlein noted a study by Dr. Joseph Parks from the Missouri Department of Mental Health concludes that people with severe mental illness have co-occurring chronic medical illnesses that are two to three times higher than the general population, with a corresponding life expectancy of 25 years less than an individual without a mental illness.
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