It is official, fall is here. We have entered the month of October, the leaves are changing rapidly, orchards are open for business and Halloween is around the corner. October is a wonderful month with plenty to enjoy. Fling Into Fall is already here, coming to Searsport this weekend!

While October has plenty to offer for old-fashioned family fun, it is also a time to reflect on some of the struggles people within our community are going through. During the month of October there are several awareness campaigns that we should all support.

Domestic Violence awareness

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and in Waldo County local police are working to restart the defunct domestic violence task force. That task force was disbanded in 2004 and a new one is being established this month.

The new task force will work closely with victims of domestic violence to develop a plan to keep them and their families safe.

Their ultimate goal is preventing domestic-violence homicides. According to New Hope for Women, half of the murders in Maine each year are related to domestic violence.

It is up to everyone in the community to report instances of domestic violence and to urge victims to seek help.

According to the Maine Department of Public Safety, the crime of domestic assault is reported to police every 96 minutes in Maine. The prevalence of domestic violence is much higher, however, because many people do not report domestic assaults. If you, or someone you know, are affected by domestic violence, contact your local domestic violence project.

We hope the new task force will become a vital resource to families in our community affected by domestic violence.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

During 2013 it is estimated that more than 1,150 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 190 women will die from the disease. As October marks National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reminds women that regular screening mammograms are critical in diagnosing and beginning treatment of the disease.

“While breast cancer is not preventable, early detection of the disease offers the best protection for women,’’ said Gov. Paul R. LePage. “I encourage women to speak with their doctor about scheduling a mammogram. This simple screening helps to save lives.”

A screening mammogram can detect breast cancer early, even before symptoms arise. Women between ages 50 to 74 should have a screening mammogram every two years, while women age 40 to 49 should talk to their doctor about when and how often to have this screening.

The Maine CDC Breast and Cervical Health and Colorectal Cancer Control Programs can provide information about cancer screening tests and has some resources available for free cancer screenings.

Women must be age 40 or older and meet financial and other program criteria. Interested women are encouraged to call 1-800-350-5180 or 1-207-287-8068; TTY users call Maine Relay 711.

More details can also be found at: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/population-health/bcp/.