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May is Mental Health Month

Physical Health Impacts Mental Health

Mental Health Month was started 69 years ago by Mental Health America to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone. This May, the focus is on how a healthy lifestyle may help prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions, as well as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic health problems. It can also help people recover from these conditions.

“It is important to really look at your overall health, both physically and mentally, to achieve wellness,” said Debra Robertson, RN, CCM, Program Director for Ringgold County Hospital’s Senior Life Solutions program. “Getting the appropriate amount of exercise, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep and reducing stress – it’s all about finding the right balance to benefit both the mind and body.” So much of what we do physically impacts us mentally. This year’s theme for May is Mental Health Month – Fitness #4Mind4Body – it is acall to pay attention to both your physical health and your mental health, which can help achieve overall wellness and set you on a path to recovery.

Mental health is important for all ages, and for Debra Robertson, it’s a critical message to get out to both adults and teens. Senior Life Solutions is an intensive outpatient group therapy program, is designed to meet the needs of adults over the age of 65 struggling with depression and anxiety often related to aging. Family members, physicians, or other health professionals can refer individuals to the program. At the other end of the spectrum, Robertson is personally part of a task force to address the mental health related issues that are facing teens in the
county. Law enforcement, students and faculty, the ministerial association, community agencies, public health and the hospital are all represented on the

Suicide Prevention Awareness Task Force
Through the efforts of the students, school, and support of the task force, area youth will have an avenue to express their concerns pertaining to bullying, sex, drugs etc. With the right support in place, it will evolve to be the resource teens need. A Mental Health Aid eight-hour training course is being offered in the community to help teach people what to do when their loved one is facing a mental illness. With the entire community coming together, Robertson hopes to bring awareness to the importance of mental health and break down the stigma allowing for people of all
ages, whether they are 15 or 65, to get the treatment they need.

For more information on the task force, the training course, or Senior Life Solutions, contact Deb Robertson at 641-464-4468. For more information on Mental Health Month, visit Mental Health America’s website at

Urologist Now Available in the Specialty Clinic

RCH welcomes Ryan Schulte, MD

Ringgold County Hospital is pleased to welcome Dr. Ryan Schulte to our specialty clinics. Dr. Schulte is a board-certified urologist with The Iowa Clinic. “I enjoy my work because of the variety of patients and procedures I can see daily,” he said. “I work with men, women, and children of all ages and it’s rewarding to build long-term relationships with my patients.”

The Iowa Clinic, P.C. partners with local medical centers and hospitals to provide leading edge healthcare for the patients of Central Iowa. Dr. Schulte will be seeing patients at Ringgold County Hospital the fourth Thursday of each month beginning in March. To make an appointment with Dr. Schulte, call: 641-464-4409.

Harvesting for good health: The Mount Ayr Community Garden

Community planting service day

For four years, Vicki Sickels, the vice chair of the Ringgold County Hospital Board, has managed a community garden in Mount Ayr along with her husband. Located behind the Lutheran Church, there are four raised beds. The garden is watered with rain water collected from the roof of the church. She’s applied for, and received, grants to help with the costs. If more grant funding is received, they’ll build additional beds.


Vicki would love to see even more members of the community participating in the project. Master Gardeners have been invited to help with the garden. Students from the local schools are invited to come to the garden and help plant during the planned service day each year.

Ringgold County residents are welcome to come to the garden anytime and take whatever produce they need. Excess vegetables are donated to the Neighborhood Center or simply given to those who may need fresh food. Sustained community participation would be welcomed throughout the spring and summer. Anyone interested in volunteering or learning more can call Vicki at 641-464-0691.

Diabetic Heart Disease

Did you know, if you have type 2 diabetes, you’re more likely to develop heart disease than those without diabetes? You’re also at greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

High blood sugar = higher risk

  • Over time, high blood sugar caused by type 2 diabetes can cause damage to your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels
  • The longer you have type 2 diabetes, the greater your risk for developing heart disease

Heart attack and stroke

  • People with type 2 diabetes who reach their A1C goal are still at risk for heart attack and stroke
  • When you have type 2 diabetes, your risk of cardiovascular disease is up to 4x greater compared with someone without diabetes
  • A significant percentage of heart attacks in people with diabetes are clinically “silent” (no symptoms)

Diabetic heart disease is heart disease that develops in people with diabetes. Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can cause a heart attack, chest pain (angina), or a stroke. Conditions that affect your heart’s muscle, valve, or rhythm are also considered forms of heart disease. Diabetic heart disease includes:

Coronary heart disease (CHD)

  • Plaque begins to cause a narrowing of the coronary arteries and reduce the flow of blood to your heart muscle. A plaque buildup increases your risk for blood clots in your arteries that can eventually block the flow of blood
  • Can cause chest pain or discomfort, irregular heartbeat, heart attacks, or death

Heart failure

  • Occurs when your heart is unable to pump the amount of blood that your body needs
  • May make you tired very quickly and force you to limit your physical activity
  • CHD can cause heart failure by making your heart muscle weaker over time

Diabetic cardiomyopathy

  • Damages the structure of the heart and the way it works
  • Can cause heart failure and irregular heartbeats

If you or a loved one has Type 2 Diabetes, talk to your medical professional at the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic about your risk of heart attack or stroke.

Happy New Year from the CEO

Gordon Winkler CEO
Gordon Winkler CEO

Greetings from CEO Gordon Winkler

At the start of this new year, are you thinking about a new you? If this is the year you’re going to start that exercise and healthy living program, I hope you’ll find inspiration in Lori Mercer’s story. With determination and support from her family, co-workers, and friends, she achieved her 2017 goal and is ready to do more in 2018!

Our employee wellness program, “Live Healthy RCH,” is an example of how a group of dedicated people with a common goal can improve their lives and the lives of those around them, simply because they care. Here at Ringgold County Hospital, “Caring is our Calling.” We take it very seriously and it extends from caring for our patients, to caring for ourselves. I want to thank all of you who sought out services here at RCH during 2017.

Your confidence in us to treat you and your family means so much. Every day, we do all we can to exceed your expectations. I hope you each have a happy and healthy 2018!

By the numbers!
Ringgold County Hospital and the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic are staffed by dedicated health care providers who take care of this community 365 days a year. We measure patient visits, procedures, and tests. We measure hours spent as volunteers in our schools. And these numbers are impressive.
In 2017, the RCH staff performed:
• Surgical procedures: 499
• Orthopedic surgical procedures: 63
• Physical therapy procedures: 8,597
• Cardiac rehab procedures: 313
• Medical Imaging procedures: 6,299
• Laboratory tests: 136,407
• Mount Ayr Medical Clinic visits: 10,181
• Ambulance runs: 520
• Athletic trainer hours: 117

However, the smiles we offer, the hands we hold, the care we give, and the comfort we provide can’t be measured. At Ringgold County Hospital, it’s clear that Caring is our Calling.

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