Tribal Health fair brings awareness to men’s health month
PABLO — CSKT Tribal Health brought awareness to National Men’s Health Month through the first in-person Men’s Health and Family Safety Fair since the start of the pandemic.
Held outdoors at the Salish Kootenai College campus to prevent any Covid spread during a time of rising infection numbers, members of the community showed up between bouts of cloudy skies to the three-hour fair to learn about all types of health and safety in an engaging and interactive way.
Opened by CSKT Councilman Charlo and a powerful drum group, the family safety side of the fair unveiled a bicycle optical course. Complete with bikes donated by Free Cycle Montana to be used during the event and then raffled off at the end of the day, one booth had a station to assist visitors with bike improvements and repairs, while another focused on helmet fitting for young riders and the importance thereof.
Fish, Wildlife and Parks held a bear spray demonstration for attendees, and explained the importance of backcountry safety. Mission Valley Aquatics representatives taught about water safety, from lakes to pools, and fitted kids with the lifejackets they were handing out to help keep kids safe on the water. Lake County Search and Rescue, the Ronan Volunteer Fire Department, and the CSKT Division of Fire all attended to educate the public as well.
“We’re really looking at all aspects of safety in the Family Fair,” Tribal Health’s Chelsea Kleinmeyer explained.
In the Men’s Health section, attendees heard two talks from Native comedian Kasey Nicholson from Billings who presented on health in an entertaining way. A member of the Aaniih/Blackfeet tribe, Nicholson has a master’s degree in mental health and rehabilitation.
“We sacrifice a little bit more of who we are and what we are, and then when we don’t feel like we’re enough, we go out searching,” Nicholson said during his talk. “I’m going to tell you right now that you’re enough.”
In addition to important mental health messaging, from suicide prevention and substance abuse programs offered by attendees like Never Alone Recovery, cardiovascular disease education was a prevailing topic of the fair. Pharmacists from Tribal Health offered health screenings to attendees on the spot while a dietician who provided smoked fish from Flathead Lake, detailed the benefits of healthy fats in foods.
“We know sometimes men don’t see their doctors as regularly,” Kleinmeyer said. “We just wanted to get the message out to men that their health is important. They face different challenges in healthcare… we wanted to let them know that we care, and that they should also be engaging with their primary care providers as much as women should.”
Tribal health offers a wide variety of health services, mental health and addiction services to disease screening and care. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call 406-745-3525 or visit cskthealth.org.