Read more about how East Central Iowa is raising awareness for mental health.
First aid isn’t always calling 911 or a bandage. For those experiencing mental health challenges or crisis, it’s someone who is willing to listen. As employers focus more on workplace health and well-being, a group of organizations are working together to bring education and awareness for mental health to the Eastern Iowa area.
Over the next three months, a series of mental health roundtables will be held in Benton County. A variety of stakeholders from across the area will take part in these sessions to better understand data and make connections to different resources. The ultimate goal: Find impactful strategies and outcomes, which will encourage future community collaborations.
The sessions will address different mental health needs specifically in Benton County. Early sessions are devoted to identifying data points to better understand the need for mental health and developing personas of youth and adults. Later sessions will review data, map resources, and discuss opportunities for education, influence and engagement.
The roundtable discussion idea was initiated by Community Partnership for Protecting Children. They saw the need and knew Cedar Rapids had done one in the past and that United Way of East Central Iowa (UWECI) played a role in that process. They asked UWECI to facilitate, and asked Benton County Stepping Up, and the Benton County Rural Access Center to collaborate to make it happen.
“UWECI is excited to partner and support the community members in Benton County,” said Karey Chase, UWECI’s Senior Manager of Community Investment.
Additional plans for education and engagement are in the works as the discussion around mental health continues. Combined with additional community resources, UWECI and other organizations in the area can use the data and items discussed to fight mental health challenges in their respective communities.
“It is evident that there is a passion to ensure all residents in Benton County are educated and provided resources for their mental health needs,” Chase added.
UWECI strongly believes that this topic needs to be talked about more openly and can be utilized to put together a coordinated initiative towards supporting those with mental health challenges. This, in turn, can encourage discussion across different communities and provide a framework and additional research towards mental health going forward.
To read more about mental health in our community, visit our website and check out our Condition of Mental Health Report. Stay tuned to future blogs over the next couple of months for an update on these forums and what initiatives are planned for Benton County and East Central Iowa.