Category Archives: Outreach

End The Stigma: A Conversation About Suicide

More than 40,000 people die by suicide every year, leaving friends and family to navigate the pain associated with such tremendous loss. As neighbors, we have the opportunity to raise awareness and to build community around an issue that impacts the lives of so many. Sharing stories and connecting with others is something we can all do: sharing stories can save a life.

September is Suicide Awareness Month and we caught up with DCMC’s Behavioral Health Coordinator, Barb Johnson-Giese, MSW, LCSW, CSAC, ICS to discuss this important topic.

Q) How do we prevent instances of suicide from occurring within our community?

Barb Johnson-Giese (BJG): First and foremost, community members need to acknowledge that suicide is a community concern, and not just the individual who has suicidal thoughts and attempts or dies by suicide. Although it is slowly changing, stigma surrounding mental illness continues to deter others from seeking services and support.  Educating our community members to recognize signs that a person/loved one may be experiencing thoughts of suicide is key to our community preventing further instances of suicides attempts and deaths.

Q) How is DCMC helping to prevent suicide in Door County? What other organizations does DCMC collaborate with to address this issue?

BJG: DCMC is an active member of the Door County Mental Health Focus Group, which was developed in partnership with Door County Public Health as a result of the Community Needs Assessment which identified a lack of behavioral health services in Door County. This group is charged with providing awareness and education to our community. Other member organizations include Prevent Suicide Door County – Nathan Wilson Coalition, Door County Human Services, JAK’s Place, Door County Partnership for Children and Families, Little Eddie Big Cup, Door County United Way, UW-Extension and others.

Q) What should a person do if they are experiencing suicidal thoughts?

BJG: My wish for anyone who experiences thoughts of suicide is to know they’re not alone, and that there are people who care and want to help. If you or someone you love is having thoughts of suicide, please contact any of the following resources:

  • Door County Mental Health Crisis Line at 920-746-2588
  • Mental Health Text Line: Text “HOPELINE” to 741741 or “APOYO” to 839863 (Spanish)
  • National Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255
  • Contact your primary care provider or another health provider

If you or someone you know is planning to hurt or kill themselves:

  • Go to the nearest Emergency Department, or Call 911

Q) What if I don’t know a person very well but have heard that they are contemplating suicide? What should I do?

BJG: It can be a scary and uncomfortable situation, and there is a myth that talking about suicide with someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts will increase the likelihood they will kill themselves. However, this is FALSE – talking with someone about suicide actually REDUCES their chance of harming themselves. Take the person seriously, and acknowledge their thoughts of suicide. Offer to listen and help them connect with community resources. Remember that depression and other mental illnesses are similar to heart disease, diabetes, etc. Think about what you would do if you saw someone who was having a heart attack or a stroke, and get them help!

Q) What educational tools are available to our community members to help us understand suicide?

BJG: The best way to prevent suicide is to remain proactive. Help reduce the stigma of mental illness and consider participating in community events to increase awareness and education about mental illness. Prevent Suicide Door County – Nathan Wilson Coalition provides free Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) training for all community members to recognize, respond and get help for someone who is thinking of suicide. For further information on QPR training, contact Monica at 920-495-7832. You can also check out their website for additional information.

Room to Grow at The Community’s Garden

Door County Community's GardenAs we head into late summer, The Community’s Garden (TCG) is teeming with a variety of herbs, vegetables, flowers and pollinators. Located on DCMC’s campus at 16th Place in Sturgeon Bay, TCG is a 501c3 organization which leases the garden space from the hospital for $1 a year. The 20’ X 20’ plots are rented to individuals for $40 each year. In promoting good health, DCMC offered employee discounts on 10 plots this growing season, plus there is a 50% reduction on the rental fee for families who receive SNAP benefits through FoodShare, WI.

The mission of The Community’s Garden is to showcase the connection between a community’s well-being and nature. This year, 43 gardeners are harvesting 42 plots, rounding out yet another successful growing season at TCG. “The garden is a laboratory for learning,” says Carmen Schroeder, a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist at DCMC and board member of TCG, “it provides access to gardening, a place for healing and camaraderie, and a way for the community to work together to be good stewards of our land.”

Carmen says it has been exciting to see the garden evolve and to meet new strategic goals over the years. At the start of this year’s season, five raised garden beds were added to accommodate gardeners. Whatever your level of gardening proficiency, there is room for you to grow at The Community’s Garden!

Growing food at Community's Garden

Carmen’s Top 9 Reasons to Grow Your Own Food at The Community’s Garden:

  1. TCG provides individuals with the opportunity to grow affordable & nutritious vegetables and herbs that can be eaten during the growing season or processed for eating throughout the year;
  2. TCG provides access to garden plots to individuals who lack ideal growing conditions at their homes;
  3. TCG provides ease in access. Plots are tilled at the start of each season, on-site irrigation is conveniently located, and deer and rabbit fences have been installed to protect the plants;
  4. The start-up costs associated with a new food garden, as well as the maintenance costs, are close to non-existent; all of the necessary tools to get your garden started (and to keep it going) are provided on-site, while the City of Sturgeon Bay donates mulch and compost;
  5. The garden is used for community service. Gardeners grow the crops with the intention to donate to local food pantries;
  6. Families who utilize the SNAP program have a free resource to grow their own nutritional, almost home-grown produce;
  7. TCG provides a learning environment to new and future gardeners. Gardening classes are provided on-site with various topics pertinent for the growing season;
  8. TCG is Community; gardeners have the opportunity to learn from others, share with others, or rely on others to assist with tasks such as watering or harvesting in their absence;
  9. In addition to growing food, TCG provides opportunities to be with other people, to appreciate nature, and to get physically active.

Get Involved!

For more information on The Community’s Garden program, including information on classes, events, membership and plot rentals, please contact DCMC to sign-up: 920-743-5566, ext 3920 or call 920-743-6005. You can also follow us on Facebook.

Put Down Your Razors! It’s Movember!

Movember MustachesGents, it’s time to grow the mustache of your choice! Handlebar? Push Broom? The Fu Manchu? The choices are endless! But the reason is serious: Movember is upon us. Also know as No-shave November or Moustache November, Movember (a fusion of moustache and November) is designed to help bring awareness to men’s health with moustaches instead of colored ribbon.

What’s Movember?

Movember got its start in 2004 when a group of 30 men in Australia decided to grow moustaches for 30 days in order to promote awareness about prostate cancer and depression in men. To date, the Movember Foundation, which developed out of that initial idea, has raised 174 million dollars worldwide, and has spread from Australia to South Africa to Europe and North America.

Why Movember?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), lifespan is on average five to six years shorter for men than for women. Additionally, men have higher mortality rates from cancer and heart disease. In order to combat statistics like these, The Movember Foundation is emphasizing early cancer detection and diagnosis, as well as promoting effective treatments for diseases like prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention, with a goal of reducing the number of premature deaths in men by 25 percent by the year 2030.

Men, what can you do to improve your health?

  • Stay connected: Social isolation is known to adversely affect both the physical and mental health of anyone who experiences it. But did you know that social isolation disproportionately affects men. According to the Movember Foundation, “70 percent of men say their friends can rely on them for support, but only 48 percent say they rely on their friends.” In other words, men expect their friends to reach out in times of trouble, but don’t expect to do the same when they, in turn, are in need of support.
  • Mental health: Three of every four suicides are men. Men have a more difficultly discussing their feelings than women do. If a man you know is going through a rough time, help him recognize the symptoms of depression. Encourage them to increase the amount of physical exercise that they get. Make sure they take breaks and fit some enjoyable downtime into every day. If they are still struggling mentally, make sure they seek the help of a professional. For more information on ways you can help yourself or a loved one with mental illness please click here: To speak with someone immediately, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or dial 911.
  • Be aware of the numbers: Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men in the U.S. If detected early, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent, if detected late, that survival rate drops to 26 percent. By the age of 50, you should be talking to your doctor about prostate cancer and whether it’s the right time to have a PSA test. While the survival rate is 95 percent, testicular cancer is the most common cancer for men in the U.S. ages 15-34. “Get to know” your testicles—learn what feels normal, check them regularly, and go to the doctor if something doesn’t feel right. For more information on prostate cancer, please click here:, to learn more about testicular cancer, please click here:
  • Go to the doctor! It’s important to schedule annual physical exams. Door County Medical Center’s Dr. Brian Matysiak points out that “Men are less likely to see a doctor until there is an issue,” adding that “many common diseases—diabetes, obesity, hypertension, sleep apnea, etc.—do not occur overnight but rather over years. An annual examination is one of the easiest things we can do to bring issues to light before they become problematic. You wouldn’t let your car go without an oil change for 20 years, so why treat your body differently?”
  • Keep moving! Exercise is essential to maintaining good physical and mental health! Dr. Matysiak suggests making small changes to your lifestyle that will provide benefits over time. “You don’t have to go out and join a gym,” he says, “instead, there are many little things that you can do: park far away, take the stairs, use a push mower or take a daily walk.”

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

With the school year just beginning, Door County Medical Center is looking at different ways to help our kids stay healthy and happy. Because there is such a strong connection between physical and mental health, and because September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Door County Medical Center is taking the opportunity to look at the risks associated with childhood obesity, its causes, and the steps that all families can take to help children avoid this serious health condition and live a healthy life.

During the past 40 years, obesity has gone from being a disease that afflicted the very few to a national epidemic. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one third (36.5%) of American adults suffer from obesity. Perhaps more troubling is the rate of obesity among our nation’s youth—roughly one in six (17%) children in the United States is obese. In our own state, the obesity rate is not much better. According to recent data, close to 31% of the adult population in Wisconsin is obese, with the current state childhood obesity rate hovering around 15%.

How is Obesity Defined?

Obesity means having too much body fat, which is different from being overweight, or weighing too much. Technically, obesity is defined by a ratio called body-mass-index, or BMI, which compares a person’s weight in kilograms to their height. In children BMI is calculated in percentiles: overweight is considered 85th percentile to less than 95th percentile, obese is 95th percentile and above.

The Risks

There are numerous health risks associated with childhood obesity. Not only are obese children at higher risk to develop chronic physical health conditions and diseases, but they are also at higher risk of developing mental illness as well. Additionally, children with obesity are more likely to be obese as adults.

Physical health risks – Children with obesity are at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes, asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint disorders, heart disease and related conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Mental health risks – Children with obesity are more likely to suffer from social isolation, depression and low self-esteem. They are also more likely to be bullied than their normal weight peers.

The Causes

The causes of childhood obesity are numerous, and more than one is often involved in the development of the disease. Factors include:

  • Eating and physical behaviors – including a disproportionate amount of high sugar and high fat foods and snacks, too much “screen time,” and too much time being physically inactive.
  • Genetics and metabolism.
  • Family and home environment – including lack of regular sleep or regular sleep schedule, and lack of regular meal schedule.
  • Community and social factors – this may include easy access to inexpensive, high calorie foods and sugary beverages, lack of access to affordable, healthier foods, and a lack of places to go in the community to get physically active.
  • Income and food insecurity – because high-calorie, processed foods tend to be more inexpensive, children from low-income families are more likely to be obese. One inexpensive, local resource that can help fight food insecurity is the Boys & Girls Clubs of Door County, which provides healthy snacks five days a week and healthy dinners Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. For more information on the Boys & Girls Clubs of Door County’s Food Program, please see our recent blog on the program, visit their website: or call: (920) 818 – 1046.

For more information on the many causes and factors that result in childhood obesity, visit the CDC’s website by clicking here.


The good news is that childhood obesity can be combated, even prevented. “The goal in kids is often not to lose weight, but to stop weight gain and allow them to grow into their weight,” says Dr. Amy Fogarty, pediatrician at DCMC. “In addition,” she says, “combating and preventing obesity is not only about weight, but also about creating healthy habits—both eating and fitness habits—that kids will carry into adulthood.”

Eat right, eat less

Eating right is important to maintaining a healthy weight, but what do we mean when we say “eating right?” Eating right means increasing the number of “green foods” that we keep and serve in the house, while reducing the availability of sugary, high-fat and processed foods.

  • Keep fruits and vegetables “out,” within reach, and available as snacks. Dr. Fogarty suggests parents “cut up fruit and veggies—have them in fridge ready to serve. Kids can grab them for a quick snack, or serve them as an ‘appetizer’ while you cook dinner.”
  • Serve more fruits, vegetables and whole-grains with each meal—vegetables should account for at least 30%, and fruits 20%, of any given meal, while whole-grains should account for an additional 30% (that’s 80% of the plate!)
  • Download the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Go, Slow, and Whoa foods chart. “Post it on your refrigerator at home or take it with you to the store when you shop.” Use it to help learn which foods lead to a healthier life. Additionally, Dr. Fogarty points out that “parents can even sort snacks in the fridge and pantry into green go foods, yellow slow foods and red whoa foods to help kids learn which foods provide the healthiest choices.”

Eating less means smaller portions at home. In the past 20 years, the amount of food that restaurants serve has nearly doubled, and according to the NIH, this “has affected the way we look at and serve food at home, too.” Learn more about the difference between a serving and a portion and about the phenomenon the NIH refers to as “portion distortion,” by clicking here.

Get active

When we eat more food—more calories—than our bodies can use in a day, our bodies store the excess—in other words, we gain weight. When you get active, you spend the excess, and maintain a proper energy balance. Whether it’s through playing a game of basketball, going for a family hike, or riding a bike to school, by being active both children and adults can maintain a healthy weight. To learn more about “energy balance,” visit the NIH website by clicking here.

Reduce screen time

Screen time means television screens, computer monitors, video games and handheld devices like smart-phones and tablets, and in the 21st Century, reducing screen time can be difficult. Nevertheless, increased screen time means reduced physical activity.  The common view among health experts is that “screen time at home should be limited to two hours or less a day. The time we spend in front of the screen, unless it’s work- or homework-related, could be better spent being more physically active.”

There is no single solution to confronting and combating childhood obesity, but as Dr. Fogarty points out, “often, by combining these different approaches, you can get more ‘bang for your buck.’”  For a more in depth look at these different strategies please visit the CDC website on Strategies to Prevent & Manage Obesity by clicking here, or the NIH website on Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition (We Can) by clicking here. For great ways to create healthy and fun school lunches for your little ones please click here.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Door County: Providing a Food Program for Families in Need

Boys and Girls Club of Door CountySix years ago the Boys and Girls Clubs of Door County started a program designed to address the nutritional needs of children from food insecure families. “People in Door County often don’t realize how many families in the area are food insecure and really need help,” points out Boys & Girls Club Chief Executive Officer Julie Davis, “it’s a very hidden problem, but in working with these kids on a daily basis, you often hear things like ‘I had an apple to eat this weekend.’”

In 2011, the Monday Night Meal program that was established to address this need began small, serving 20 to 25 children from a warming kitchen at Sawyer Elementary School. Today, thanks in part to the addition of a commercial kitchen—generously provided by David Hatch—and with the addition of CACFP (Child and Adult Care Food Program) funding from the state, which reimburses the Boys & Girls Club for every snack and meal, the initial program has expanded enormously, averaging 200 or more after school snacks, five days a week, between Sawyer Elementary School and the new Boys & Girls Club in downtown Sturgeon Bay. Additionally, the Boys & Girls Club CACFP funded Food Program serves healthy dinners on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. However, CACFP funding doesn’t cover operational expenses, so even with state funding, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Door County ran a budget shortfall last year. Thankfully donations from Door County Medical Center, along with donations from other institutions and private individuals, have helped bridge that financial gap, “At Door County Medical Center,” remarks DCMC’s Communication and Marketing Specialist Erin Shortall, “we believe in supporting, in whatever way we can, Door County’s most vulnerable kids—in providing them with the basic necessities that they need to succeed. If that means providing financial support, then that’s what we do.”

Building a Platform for Academic Success

Initially, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Door County had three priority outcomes they were looking to build—three value systems that the organization wanted to instill in the children they served: healthy lifestyles, academic success and good character and citizenship. Following their initial Monday Night Meal at Sawyer Elementary School they added a fourth: basic needs. Ms. Davis recalls, “We realized that, just like when you or I—when we’re sitting at our desk trying to do what we need to do at lunch and we haven’t eaten yet—we can’t focus.” She adds:

Kids that are running a constant calorie deficit can’t focus either. So, we felt strongly that, here in America, in Wisconsin, and in Door County, food insecurity should not be the barrier that kids are struggling against to achieve academic success. A lot of organizations work to help parents become more responsible. We’re not one of them. We’re an organization that if you’re hungry, we want to feed you. We want to provide a baseline so that you can move on to what’s really going to be key in helping you become a successful adult, which is building a solid academic platform for wherever you want to go after graduation. So, we’ve got to feed kids, this can’t be the barrier in our community that holds our kids back.

Healthy Lifestyles

For Ms. Davis and the staff at the Boys & Girls Club, it’s not just about providing kids with food, it’s about providing them with healthy food, and with the opportunity to explore new kinds of food.

Our commitment is to healthy lifestyles. We discovered we needed to expose kids, who are not used to having food available, to a wide array of fresh fruits, vegetables, and cheese. Understand that food insecure households can’t take the risk of exposing kids to new foods they won’t eat—they can’t financially afford to throw food away. As a food insecure parent, you’re not going to buy food your kids might not like—you’re not going to risk buying broccoli knowing that you might need to throw it away.

This approach also revolves around the repeated exposure to a variety of foods. Recently, the Boys & Girls Club implemented the “Tuesday Nutrition Nugget,” which involves Healthy Lifestyles Coordinator Susan Gigot-Klein teaching the kids about the different types of food—the difference between green beans and yellow beans, for example—and giving them the chance to sample foods they are less likely to have been exposed to, like hummus. Moreover, they discuss why eating healthy, “green” foods is important when trying to maintain a healthy body, and how maintaining a healthy lifestyle positively impacts your development as a human being.


Perhaps more than anything, the Boys & Girls Club Food Program is about providing kids with the tools required to build a healthy lifestyle, tools which extend all the way from the garden to the dinning room table. “We started garden programming from the first summer that we offered summer programming,” says Ms. Davis, the Club initially working a double plot for three to four years at The Community’s Garden behind DCMC, and eventually building, in collaboration with Leadership Door County, a garden directly behind the Boys & Girls Club in downtown Sturgeon Bay. She adds, “Teaching kids about how and where their food is grown, and what it tastes like when it’s fresh—it incentivizes them to try fresh foods.”

Moving beyond the garden and into the kitchen, the Boys & Girls Club has developed programming like “Edible Art” and “Teen Cuisine.” Ms. Davis explains that, “With our teenagers, there are a lot of families where once you hit a certain age, guess what? You get to feed yourself. And their idea of feeding themselves is grabbing an energy drink and a bag of chips.” With Teen Cuisine, the kids not only learn basic kitchen skills, they also learn how to create a menu, purchase the food from the store, and finally, prepare the food. In essence, not only do they get the entire store-to-table experience of creating a meal for themselves, but also the basic cooking skills that they will need as an adult.

“There is a higher level of food insecurity in Door County than you might think. We tend to think that is happening in some other community, but it is happening right here,” Ms. Davis notes. “There are gaps that we find—calorie deficits, for example—and barriers and challenges to the kids that we serve. And it’s so real that you are driven to do something about it, and that is where I think we are, at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Door County we see a gap and a need in our community, so we are driven to try and fill that gap and serve that need.”

The Boys & Girls Club David G. Hatch Center is located at 55 South 3rd Avenue in downtown Sturgeon Bay. Afterschool snacks are provided Monday through Friday from 3:00-3:30 p.m., and dinners are provided Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5:30-6:00 p.m. Teen Cuisine and the Edible Arts programs take place during club time, weekdays from 4:45-5:30. Registration for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Door County is $10 per year. For more information on the Afterschool Program and/or the Food Program, and for more information on how to donate to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Door County, please visit their website at: or call: (920) 818 – 1046.

The Community’s Garden – A Healthy Resource for All

According to the National Gardening Association, a well-maintained garden can yield roughly one ½ pound of produce per square foot during each growing season. For a 400-square-foot garden plot, this adds up to around 200 pounds of produce, worth an estimated $400 annually. For low-income families and individuals, this represents an excellent way to cut into the grocery bill.

Door County Community's GardenSince our first full growing season in 2010, The Community’s Garden has looked for ways to help local, low-income families enjoy not only the health benefits associated with growing your own food, but the financial benefits as well. At The Community’s Garden, the $40 rental fee for a 20’ x 20’ plot is waived for families that receive WIC or SNAP benefits through FoodShare, WI. The start-up costs associated with a new food garden, as well as the maintenance costs, are also close to non-existent; all of the necessary tools to get your garden started (and to keep it going) are provided on site, while the City of Sturgeon Bay donates mulch and compost. Additionally, at the beginning of each growing season, The Community’s Garden Board of Directors tills the soil, so when arriving in early spring all one needs to do is start planting!

One doesn’t need to be an expert!

Don’t let getting started intimidate you. One doesn’t need to be an expert to enjoy the benefits of The Community’s Garden! Our farmers come from all walks of life and have developed all levels of ability. “We will always welcome new gardeners,” says Carmen Schroeder, a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist at DCMC and board member of The Community’s Garden. “We have both seasoned and beginner gardeners and we’re always willing to help out. It’s a real community, there is a lot of sharing and educating going on.”

Community's Garden in Door CountyIn addition to the “on the job training” that comes from working alongside our more experienced farmers, The Community’s Garden offers a wide range of classes during the growing season. Our Food for Health series covers topics ranging from pest control to plant tending to food preservation. Learn how to create delicious meals from the food you grow. Learn how to pickle or can your veggies so you can enjoy them later in the year. All classes are open to the public and taught in the garden by experts, and all classes are free!

No time to garden? Try the Farmer’s Market!

While The Community’s Garden is an excellent resource for cheap and healthy food, gardening does take a good deal of time that not everyone has. At DCMC we understand that The Community’s Garden may not be an appropriate way for everyone to acquire healthy and inexpensive produce. In response, for the past two years, DCMC has worked with partners like The United Way and The City of Sturgeon Bay Farmer’s Market to increase access to fresh produce and whole foods for low-income individuals and families through the support of FoodShare, WI. In conjunction with FoodShare, DCMC is sponsoring a voucher program at the Sturgeon Bay Farmer’s Market “that allows participants to buy fresh, local produce and other wholesome foods at the market.” The Double Your FoodShare Dollars program also aims to incentivize healthy eating by doubling available funds. According to Sturgeon Bay public works/parks and recreation supervisor Bob Bordeau, “If you want to buy $10 [of produce] on your Quest card, you’ll be given $20 in [FoodShare] tokens.”

For more information on The Community’s Garden program, including information on classes, events, membership and plot rentals, please visit our website at Farmer’s market tours are offered at the Sturgeon Bay Farmers’ Market Information/EBT booth to FoodShare participants and other community members. For more information on the Sturgeon Bay Farmers’ Market please visit the City of Sturgeon Bay website or click here.

Teen Suicide and the Netflix Series 13 Reasons Why

Netflix 13 Reasons WhyOn March 31st of this year, Netflix released its series 13 Reasons Why. The series, based on the 2007 novel of the same name by author Jay Asher, revolves around the suicide of high school student Hannah Baker.

Hannah, subjected to sexual assault, cyberbullying and unresponsive adults, leaves behind a box of thirteen cassette tapes. Each of the tapes contains “an emotional audio diary,” delving into one of the different reasons she ended her life and becoming the basis for an individual episode.

The series has received largely positive reviews from critics and audiences alike, which have primarily focused on cast performance, direction, and an approach to dark subject matter that has been described as “mature.” However, 13 Reasons Why has also generated its fair share of controversy. While proponents argue the series raises awareness of teen suicide, prompting a much-needed discussion between parents, children, schools and students, those on the other side of the argument feel the series “glamourizes risky behaviors and could even lead to copycat deaths.”

Indeed, there is evidence to suggest the latter argument carries some weight. One recent study conducted by the University of Southern California found that, on average, 1 in 5 teenagers have contemplated suicide. The same study also found that for teens who already have suicidal ideation—already view suicide as a solution—“the images of self-harm in shows like 13 Reasons Why could be contagious…could push them over the top.”

Barb Johnson-Giese, Behavioral Health Coordinator at Door County Medical Center, also points out that along with the sense of glamorization the Netflix series may inadvertently attach to suicide, the way in which 13 Reasons Why portrays the events that lead up to Hannah Baker’s death also creates a disconnect with reality. Each of the series’ thirteen episodes recounts the events of Hannah’s life through flashbacks. So while the series may begin with Hannah’s suicide, she is present in every episode—in a sense, continually brought back to life throughout the course of the first season. Herein lies the disconnect: 13 Reasons Why fails to clearly present the finality inherent in a completed suicide, it fails to present the real life consequences of such an action.

Despite its drawbacks, Johnson-Giese also sees 13 Reasons Why as an opportunity. Now that summer is upon us, and given its quality and popularity, there is a strong likelihood most teens will end up watching the series. Johnson-Giese encourages parents to watch the show with their children and discuss it together, including reasons not to use suicide as a way to cope. She strongly recommends that parents ask their children if they have ever thought about suicide as, despite the myth that discussing suicide will plant the idea in the teen’s mind, studies have shown open dialog will decrease the likelihood they will attempt suicide.  She says talking about suicide and mental health issues lets children know you care and are willing to talk with them and get them help if needed.

LEAP—A Human Kindness Project

It has been reported that among teens, 55% of suicidal thoughts can be directly linked to discrimination and bullying in school. In an effort to address the causes of teen suicide, DCMC has partnered with Door County High Schools, sponsoring a program called LEAP—A Human Kindness ProjectLEAP is an acronym for “Learning to Empower and Appreciate all People,” and manifests as a public theatrical performance, which integrates dance, spoken word, song, visual arts and multimedia imagery.

Inspired by Terry Lundahl, who in her work for HELP of Door County taught a “Violence-Free Relationships for Teens” class in local schools, LEAP held its first performance in 2015. With each subsequent performance, the project has sought to build a relationship between students, local artists and educators, pairing 30 – 40 high school students with roughly 10 “creative facilitators”—adult mentors that help guide and create the performance. Additionally, each performance has focused either on a specific area of social injustice (bullying) or has sought to advocate messages of tolerance, compassion and understanding (power of community) with the overarching goal of inspiring and nurturing the positive aspects of human nature in both the student-artists and the audience.

According to Kevin Grohskopf, director of marketing and public relations for DCMC, “the most effective tools anti-bullying advocates have are prevention, education and raising awareness.” With that in mind, the concept behind LEAP has been extended further. In 2017, JUMP Theatre was created, giving the role of performing-artist to middle school students while high school seniors have adopted the role of creative facilitator, the philosophy behind LEAP now reaching a broader audience and a greater span of age groups.

With programs like LEAP—A Human Kindness Project and Jump Theatre, DCMC and local schools have made great strides in helping to shine a bright light on the root causes of teen suicide. Nevertheless, it is important that parents work to remain aware of their child’s social media use—what sites are visited most, for example—and for significant changes in behavior—anger in teens is more common than an outward display of depression. If a teen expresses suicidal thoughts, take them seriously. Johnson-Giese says many resources are available to assist people who are thinking about suicide.  As places to turn for help, she suggests calling the Suicide/Mental Health Crisis Line at 920-746-2588 or texting “HOPELINE” to 741741, which connects you to trained crisis counselors. Additional sources of information include your own Employee Assistance Program, accessed through your employer, or the Community Resources tab on the Door County Library website.  If it’s an emergency, calling 9-1-1 or going to the hospital emergency room are the best options to avoid a tragedy.

June is Men’s Health Month

Men's Health Month

We all know that men visit their doctor less often than women, but did you know that, according to a 2014 survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men are 50% less likely than women to have visited a doctor during the course of a two-year period. Additionally, men are three times more likely to admit going five years without a visit and twice as likely to admit that, as an adult, they had never seen a doctor or health professional. The result? While a number of factors are probably involved—men tend to take a greater number of risks, and have more dangerous professions than women—women on average, live seven years longer than men and are less likely to die from eight of the top ten causes of death in the U.S.

With statistics like these in mind, President Bill Clinton signed a bill in 1994 recognizing the third week in June as National Men’s Health Week. Celebrating men’s health throughout the month of June quickly followed suit. The goal of Men’s Health Month is to “heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among me and boys.” Men’s Health Month also presents many groups and organizations, such as health care providers, public policy makers, the media, corporations and individuals, with the opportunity to urge both men and boys to obtain regular medical advice and early treatment for diseases and injuries.

Awareness – Prevention – Education – Family

It is always important to be aware of the lifestyle choices we make and the way those choices impact the quality of our lives long term. Raising awareness means…

  • Consciously making healthy lifestyle choices that positively affect the foods you eat and the amount of daily exercise you get.
  • Scheduling regular annual visits with your doctor or primary care professional. Many health conditions can be prevented or detected early with regular checkups and screenings.
  • Educating yourself about the diseases that disproportionately affect men—diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease
  • Starting basic healthcare conversations with your friends and family and discussing the health issues that you encounter.


This year, Wear BLUE Day is Friday, June 16. Wear BLUE Day was created by the Men’s Health Network with the twin goals of raising awareness about men’s need to seek regular check-ups and of raising money for education about diseases such as testicular cancer, prostate cancer and the other health issues that primarily affect men. “Wear BLUE Day is celebrated by private corporations, government agencies, sports teams, and individuals to show their concern for the health and wellbeing of boys and men.

For more access to men’s health resources or for more information on Wear BLUE, National Men’s Health Week and National Men’s Health Month, please visit: or the Men’s Health Network at:

Kelsie Ladick: Touching the Community

Taking care of students from Gibraltar to Southern Door is all in a day’s work for Kelsie Ladick, LPN. Kelsie serves children through Door County Medical Center’s (DCMC) school nursing program. “Our mission is to keep local students healthy so they can learn and grow,” she says. A typical day for Kelsie includes illness and injury assessment, medication administration and educating staff on students’ medical needs and conditions.

LadickKelsie has been with DCMC since 2010, and has worked as a school nurse since 2014. Her first few years at the hospital, she worked in the Skilled Nursing Facility and the DCMC Clinic. “I’ve spent much of my career working with seniors, and now I am enjoying caring for children and seeing that end of the spectrum,” she says.

She says she and other school nursing staff are a resource for community members. “When DCMC made the transition to partnering with HSHS, we had a lot of school staff and parents asking us about that. We were able to tell them that the quality of care wouldn’t change, and they’d have access to more specialists.”

In the community at large, Kelsie is also a go-to person for other parents and kids. “I have two boys, so I spend a lot of time at sporting events, often in my scrubs,” she says. She often fields medical questions, and helps with injuries and assessments on the field and on the court.

DCMC’s school nursing program serves the Gibraltar, Southern Door and Sturgeon Bay districts.

DCMC Collaborates with Schools to Promote Teen Health and Combat Social Injustice

For the third straight year, Door County Medical Center (DCMC) is collaborating with Door County high schools to present LEAP -The Human Kindness Project, an innovative multi-media performance featuring teen performers from throughout Door County. The performance encourages conversations on anti-bullying, compassion and inclusion as well as promoting mental health in teens.


“The most effective tools anti-bullying advocates have are prevention and education. LEAP is triumphantly raising awareness through art, while involving youth in a worthwhile project that enhances their own health and well-being,” says Kevin Grohskopf, chief business development officer at DCMC.

LEAP (Learning to Empower and Appreciate all People) promotes a violence-free message and presents themes of acceptance and social justice. The performance encourages positive thinking, community, and personal growth through dance, spoken word, music, and the visual arts.

Since 2014, LEAP performances have reached more than 2,100 local high school students and general audience members. More than 90 teens have participated in the show.

This year’s performance, titled “A New World: Building a Healthy Community” centers on the theme of healthy relationships. Community performances are scheduled for Friday, April 21 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 23 at 2:00 p.m. at the Southern Door Auditorium.