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Nearly 600,000 Iowans are living with some form of mental illness.

Mental illness affects one in five of our family members, friends, coworkers and neighbors. Yet, according to the National Institute of Mental Illness, 60 percent of adults did not receive mental health services in the last year.

We can do better.

Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI) provides mental and behavioral health care to children, adults and families in the Quad Cities and across the state. Our Behavioral Health Intervention Services (BHIS) team visits families in their homes to help children build practical skills like anger management and healthy communication, while our therapists provide treatment for all ages in a safe, clinical setting.

Each year, we provide thousands of these sessions to Iowans in need, but there is always more work to be done.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness for the millions of Americans struggling with mental illness, and a time to remember that they’re not just strangers — they’re us. The cashier at the grocery store. The other parents at soccer practice. The man in the nearby cubicle.

If someone you know is experiencing a mental illness, don’t wait. Be there if they need someone to talk to, and encourage them to seek help. Remind them that taking care of their mental health is just as important as visiting the doctor when we’re sick or injured. Empower them to know their mental illness does not define them.

It's OK to ask for help.

Laurie Walters

Statewide Coordinator of Mental Health Services

Davenport

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