Health: Mental Illness Awareness

At United Way of Story County (UWSC), we believe that when we are United together, we can find solutions that make long-lasting, positive change in the lives of individuals and families, which is why our 2018 LIVE UNITED Campaign theme is “In order to live better, we must LIVE UNITED.” Because when we LIVE UNITED, everyone wins.
United Way fights for the health, education, and financial stability of everyone in our community. This month we are focusing on how your dollars fund programs that allow affordable and accessible health services for all. This week being National Mental Illness Awareness week, we will share about community programs that provide hope and healing for individuals and families going through a mental illness.
When you or a loved one is seeking help for a mental illness, it can be overwhelming and your path through it may seem unclear. Knowing what options are available to help you or your family cope may help lighten the load. Whether it be through peer support, education, counseling, or therapy, options are available to those who are seeking them.
UWSC supports many YSS programs focused on helping those looking for support. YSS Family Counseling & Clinic provides healing using the most up-to-date treatments. Their staff is made up of highly trained, licensed professionals ready to find a treatment that suits each person’s needs. Offering psychiatric consultations, integrated health services, mental health therapy, and intervention services, these programs can assess and diagnose health issues and create a treatment plan that works for the individual and their family. 
Support is necessary for those suffering themselves, but their loved ones are often in uncharted territory as well. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Central Iowa exists to inspire better lives for those affected by mental illness. One program doing just that is their Family to Family program, which was highlighted in our campaign video this year. This evidence-based 12-week class is run by NAMI-trained family members who have been there themselves, leading interactive exercises, presentations, and time for peer discussion. Research has shown that this program significantly improves the coping and problem-solving abilities of the people closest to an individual living with a mental health condition.
Also available to families in need, Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI) provides Crisis Child Care; free, short-term care when a family is experiencing a crisis such as a mental health obstacle. This program makes sure that children have a safe space to stay while their parent or family member takes care of themselves.
As we strive to have a community where essential services for healthy lives are affordable and accessible to every person, know that your support of these programs and others is making sure that all aspects of health care are available to those who need it. From supporting families going through a new diagnosis, to therapy and intervention, United Way funded programs are there to offer a beacon of hope and a safe environment for healing.