Finding Help for Your Health Issues

Information and support for myriad health conditions abound

This week I received a newsletter from my local hospital. It reminded me of the many outreach programs that every community has available for those in need of health-related information, advice, support or training. The catch is that you have to know where to look and who to ask. In my area, the hospital is one obvious resource, but within a 20-mile drive, or a quick phone call there are many others.

Operator, information!

Many communities have a community hot line where operators are happy to give you the names and numbers of support groups, services and government agencies that will provide almost any kind of service you need. Let your fingers do the walking to the community, government and state pages of your phone directory. Most of the addresses and phone numbers that are available through the hot line can be found by a quick search in the front section of your local directory.

Your local health department has booklets and pamphlets and will recommend support groups. Just ask; they are even happy to mail you free pamphlets and brochures. They can also let you know what programs are available for free or on a sliding scale fee.

Believe it or not, your librarian can be a jackpot of information. All libraries have a research or help desk, where you will find the most wonderful people, who are there to actually help you! The reference section is loaded with books that describe all sorts of illnesses and diseases that may be of use.

Don't forget health professionals

Another resource is your pharmacy or drug store. While large chains like the Medicine Shoppe have a wall or display shelf dedicated to free information sheets, even small pharmacies usually have helpful free literature. Along the same line, health food stores often carry free, or inexpensive literature.

People seem to overlook one of the most obvious place to get free health- related literature: your doctor's office. Sure, the flyers and pamphlets are underwritten by some pharmaceutical company, but good information can still be gleaned from them. Ask your doctor or the receptionist if you don't see the information you need in the waiting room.

Whether you have diabetes, heart disease, a chemical addiction, mental illness, thyroid disease, weight problems, high cholesterol, or need information about grieving, head injuries, pregnancy and birth for adults and teens, Alzheimer's disease or cancer--help is a phone call away, and usually free. Whatever your physical or mental health concerns and issues, there are classes, support groups, low-cost programs and free information and advice close at hand. Just ask.

Patricia Moon is a homeschooling mother, an active member of her community and a freelance writer who is married to her editor/fan club president.