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Healthy living via social media in Derry

Union Leader Correspondent

January 10. 2018 11:42PM

LONDONDERRY — Greater Derry Community Health Services has established a new social media presence designed to promote healthy living.

Donna Tighe, executive director of the region’s Community Health Services (CHS), said the new initiative is known as Healthy Londonderry and is an open forum intended to improve the community’s well-being and offer a positive atmosphere. The goal is to share information, education tips and safety suggestions for those in Greater Londonderry.

The new resource is available on Twitter — its handle is @Healthy03053 — and its Facebook page is called Healthy Londonderry. CHS is also available at 425-2545.

“All of this sits in the middle of a frame around addiction support and trying to provide education and resources and information,” Tighe told the Londonderry Town Council on Monday night.

“We didn’t expect Facebook to be as well received in this community, but the level of engagement between residents and the site is very impressible,” she added. “It’s worked on daily, someone is doing research and posting every day.”

This program appears cost-effective and likely will offer a good return on investment long-term, Tighe said.

For more than a decade, CHS has managed general assistance within the town. In 2017 the organization worked to pull in residents struggling with opioid addiction, but the inaugural year did not attract as much attention as they hoped, saying people were reluctant to come and meet with staffers.

Tight said they came back with a new idea to wrap substance misuse, behavior health issues and other topics into healthy living advise on popular social networks, saying their Twitter feed has taken off.

“For the first five-and-a-half weeks, which is how long the accounts have been in business, we did things that were related to recreation, child safety, behavioral issues, helping your children learn to sleep — things like that,” she said. “And we had excellent engagement.”

The organization also plans to host a spring forum to cover a wide range of health-related topics, complete with speakers and experts who will possibly be available for one-on-one sessions. They also hope for a series on the local cable network on substance misuse.

CHS has met with the Londonderry Fire Department and expects to meet with the town police chief, William Hart, soon.

Council Chairman Tom Dolan called Hart a wonderful resource on the topic and praised the new initiative.

“(Hart)’s not interested in putting people in jail who have addiction and substance abuse problems, he’s looking to get them help. And I think that level of energy coming from our police chief and the police force dovetails quite nicely into the efforts you have at CHS,” Dolan said.

“This problem that we’re all embroiled in across the state, across the country, … there’s no magical way out of this problem, it’s all these pieces kind of quilted together that perhaps we can provide some help for each other.”


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