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I AM in Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality

Topic: Bullying & Suicide

Jul 12

Manage Your Thoughts and Emotions for Less Stress

Posted By iamincontrol | July 12, 2018

It is easy for us to let our emotions get the best of us, but we can learn how to manage our reactions and thoughts to certain events. This can help us manage stress in our lives. For most people, it will take practice, but how can we practice emotional wellness? Here are some actions you can take to develop better skills to manage stress:

  • Don’t stress about what you can’t change. Don’t waste time and energy worrying about things you can’t change or events that may never happen.
  • See life as changeable. Accept that change is a natural part of living and growing. This will make new changes become less stressful.
  • Think about alternatives. Thinking about options beforehand will help you plan for change and adjust more quickly.
  • Be realistic about your expectations. You should aim high in situations but be realistic about your goals and your motivation.
  • Don’t rush into action – think before you act. Accept your mistakes and mistakes by others. Don’t let them stress you out. Think through what happened, learn from it, and plan to avoid it in the future.
  • Take things less seriously. Ask yourself: How much will this matter in two weeks? Six months?
  • Take time for yourself. Take time to relax and care for your own mental health. This will help you be less stressed and improve your well-being.

For more tips on how to better manage your thoughts, check out:

Jun 28

Surviving Stressful Family Interactions

Posted By iamincontrol | June 28, 2018

Summer often gives people more time to spend with their families. Whether it’s a family vacation or just hanging out at home. Spending a lot of time with loved ones isn’t always easy. Being in close quarters with relatives who get on your nerves can be stressful. Here are some tips for how to handle stressful interactions in the moment and what to do to de-stress afterwards:

  • Keep a positive attitude and set an intention to have a good time no matter what happens. This can help you stay positive and not let little comments get to you.
  • Try not to take things personally. Negative remarks say more about the person who says them than the person they’re said to.
  • When you feel your stress rising, taking a breath before speaking can help you respond in a relaxed way instead of a way that adds to the tension.
  • When you do respond to comments, be direct and use statements like “I feel” or “I think”.

After dealing with stressful family, make sure to take time to recover and do something to de-stress.

  • Prioritize self-care by spending more time doing the things you like to do to relax.
  • Some things you can do either before or after dealing with stressful family members are exercising, going for a walk, skin care, reading books, or doing puzzles.
  • Getting good sleep and eating healthy meals will help you be in your best mood too.

For more information on dealing with family members who stress you out, check out this link:

Jun 21

Celebrities are Talking about Therapy, Could it be Right for You?

Posted By iamincontrol | June 21, 2018

Therapy can feel really intimidating and shameful. The truth is, a lot of people go to therapy whether they have a mental illness or not. You also don’t have to be going through a crisis to see a therapist. Therapists can be a helpful resource for sorting through many different problems.

While it may seem like no one is experiencing the same issues as you, mental health is being more openly discussed than ever. Several celebrities have shared their experiences with mental health including Lili Reinhart, Selena Gomez, Keke Palmer, Demi Lovato, John Hamm, Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Johnson. If you’re interested in giving therapy a try, here are some things that you should know:

  • It may take you a while to find a therapist that is right for you. Psychology Today has a search feature that lets you sort therapists in your area by different criteria. You can access that feature here:
  • Online counseling services are becoming more common. If there isn’t a therapist near you, there may be an online service that works for you.
  • The first session is an opportunity for the therapist to get to know you and what you might want to work on. Even after having your first session, you may decide to find a different therapist. And that’s okay!

For more information about what to expect from your first therapy session, check out this article:

Apr 17

Logan Paul & Mental Health Awareness and Stigma

Posted By iamincontrol | April 17, 2018

A few months ago social media and YouTube video blogger (vlogger), Logan Paul was under fire. He was videotaping and commenting on a person who took their own life as he walked through Suicide Forest in Japan. Logan Paul’s insensitive reaction to suicide throughout the video has led to larger discussions about mental health and suicide awareness.

Talking about mental illness and suicide can be hard and awkward. For example, you may be afraid of saying the wrong things or upsetting someone. So, how do you handle talking about mental health/suicide?

  • Take things serious – if someone is having thoughts of suicide, never assume that they are seeking attention.
  • Don’t make jokes – someone’s health is serious, whether it is mental or physical. Treat people with respect.
  • Be a friend – ask how they are doing and try to be there for them. Doing your best is all that can be asked.
  • Don’t fear someone – people with mental health disorders already face stigma or shame for their issues. Don’t treat them any differently because of their disorder.
  • Tell an adult or important person – don’t try to handle everything on your own. Always tell a trusted adult who can help step in.

Learn from other’s mistakes. For tips on how to have conversations about mental health, go to

Apr 3

How Iowa City Schools Revolutionized Bully Reporting

Posted By iamincontrol | April 3, 2018

Have you ever witnessed someone being bullied, but didn’t feel comfortable taking action? Whether you were scared the bully might hurt you for standing up or start bullying you for tattling, we all have been there. Fortunately for students in the Iowa City School District, there is a new solution. Students can now text @Bullying or @SafeSchools to a certain phone number. It directs them to a reporting form that they can submit anonymously. The school counselor receives the digital form without a name on the report. The counselor and/or principal then take action to address the situation. How easy is that?\

Want this in your school? Talk to your teachers and show them this video:

Mar 15

Mental Health and Well-Being

Posted By iamincontrol | March 15, 2018

Our mental health is extremely important and seeking therapy can help us in many ways. When I was a teenager, I was removed from my parent’s home and placed under foster care. It was a very difficult experience both mentally and emotionally. While in foster care, my siblings and I were connected with a psychologist. Our psychologist was friendly which made talking to her really easy. My siblings and I attended therapy for about a year. Therapy helped me learn to cope with the feelings that I was experiencing. My psychologist was also very comforting and made me feel like everything was going to turn out well. Therapy was really helpful to me during a difficult time in my life and it can benefit other people as well.

Why is our mental health important?

  • If our mental health is not taken care of, we cannot work to our fullest potential
  • Mental health issues can lead to physical problems as well

What are some benefits of seeing a mental health provider?

  • Therapy can help you take control of your emotions so that they do not become bottled-up
  • Helps you to know that you are not alone
  • Can have lasting positive effects in the future
  • May teach you skills that you can use later

Other ways to maintain mental health

  • Exercise
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Helping other people such as volunteering

To learn more about mental health and well-being visit

Feb 27

A New Way of Thinking about Mental Health

Posted By iamincontrol | February 27, 2018

What do you think of when you hear the term “mental health”? My mind always goes directly to “mental illness.” I had always associated “mental health” with something negative. But really mental health is just another aspect of our overall health. We know that we have to brush our teeth twice a day. We know that we have to put Band-Aids on our cuts. And we know that we have to wash our hair and bodies to keep them clean. But think about it… what do we know about mental hygiene? We need to work on our mental health all the time, just like we need to exercise to keep our bodies in shape.

Take charge of your mental well-being:

  • Check in with yourself. When we first wake up in the morning – check in with your mind. “How am I feeling today?”
  • When you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, take time to clear your head. Becoming ACTUALLY aware of what is upsetting us can be the key to fixing it.
  • R E L A X. We’re all busy. Take a nap, drink some tea, read a book, watch Netflix. We’re all busy, but we all need time for ourselves.
  • Practice positive self-talk. Tell yourself each day that you are proud to be who you are. Recognize your accomplishments.
  • Make sure you’re finding a balance. Balance in life is key. Find that time to hang out with friends or family or participate in your favorite hobby.
  • See a professional. Visiting a therapist is normal and necessary for some. It doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you or you did something wrong. If you think that seeing a therapist would be beneficial to you, talk to your family.

To learn more about living life with a healthy mind, visit:

Jan 30

Focusing on Fidget Spinners

Posted By iamincontrol | January 30, 2018

Fidget spinners are handheld devices that can be easily rotated in the user’s hand or fingertips. Fidget spinners were originally marketed as aides for people who have ADHD, autism, and anxiety because of the sensory experience it provides. Some users have created tricks and uploaded videos to the internet showing all the options a Fidget Spinner has, but some researchers have questioned whether this new product was tested properly and truly helped reduce distractions for individuals who have the previously mentioned conditions.

Researchers conclude there are other ways to increase concentration which includes:

  • taking activity breaks
  • removal of extra distractions
  • getting proper sleep and diet
  • the use of fidget devices that have been properly researched

If you need to take a mental break, learn what works best for you and make sure you take that time while studying or working on homework.

For more information about the Fidget Spinner controversy, check out

Nov 28

Iowa’s Low Mental Health Ranking

Posted By iamincontrol | November 28, 2017

Since 2015, Iowa has closed three public mental institutions in Oskaloosa, Mount Pleasant, and Clarinda. They were closed because the state of Iowa is changing how it deals with mental health care. However, closing them got rid of hospital beds for people who needed to stay in the hospital while getting treatment without any plan to replace those beds. Many people were concerned that getting rid of that many beds would make it hard for people to get the treatment they needed.

According to the Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC), Iowa has only 4.1% of the psychiatric beds it needs for its population size. Currently, people in Iowa who have a serious mental illness are 2.6 times more likely to be put in jail than to be put in a mental hospital where they can get proper care (TAC).  These statistics have led to Iowa’s very low ranking for mental health care.

To improve this ranking, the TAC has made several suggestions for improving mental health care in Iowa.

  1. Do not remove psychiatric beds in public mental health institutions
  2. Increase the number of psychiatric beds available
  3. Improve laws to make it easier for people to get the treatment they need

Recently, Iowa’s Health Facilities Council has approved a new mental health facility that will be built in Bettendorf, Iowa. The building will have 72 beds available. However, this new facility will be a private hospital. While there will be 72 new beds available, they are not part of a public mental health institution. This means that everyone will have to pay for care in the new building, unlike a public institution which will provide services even if someone cannot pay.

To learn more about mental health in Iowa, watch this video:

Oct 24

To the Bone; What You Need to Know Before Watching

Posted By iamincontrol | October 24, 2017

There’s a new movie on Netflix you might have seen called To the Bone. The movie is about a 20-year-old girl battling anorexia. Although this movie is meant to be entertaining, we must always look at programs with sensitive content with a critical lens. For those dealing with mental health disorders including eating disorders, specifically anorexia, this film can be particularly triggering. The film features at least three components that specialists advise never to show on screen to protect those with eating disorders. It’s not a bad idea to skip watching this movie all together if you have any hesitations about its content. Here are some facts about eating disorders:

  1. They are mental disorders. In the past, it was a common misconception that eating disorders came from a place of vanity. Today, widely recognized as a mental disorder by the general public, but the myth persists.
  2. They can affect anyone. Portrayals of eating disorders almost always depict women as sufferers. Anyone can develop an eating disorder despite gender or sexual orientation. Notably, many times characters suffering from an eating disorder on TV and movies are white. This is not representative. People from all races and ethnicities suffer, as well as, different religions.
  3. They come in many different forms. Anorexia Nervosa is categorized by refusal to maintain normal body weight, intense fear of gaining weight along with other symptoms. Bulimia Nervosa is categorized by reoccurring binge-eating, self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives and other medications, fasting, excessive exercise and more. Lastly, there is Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. A person could be diagnosed with this category if they fail to meet one of two criteria for either Anorexia or Bulimia Nervosa (Diagnostic Criteria).
  4. They are extremely dangerous. More people die from eating disorders than any other mental illness. A lack of adequate nutrition can ultimately lead to death, but 1 in 5 deaths of those with anorexia is the result of suicide (The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders).

Movies, music, theater works, TV shows or any entertainment should NOT be taken as factual. Please seek a doctor if you are having any mental health issues. Our Teenline is open 24/7, give us a call if you need someone to talk to at 1-800-443-8336. If you prefer to chat online, we are available Monday through Friday 8am-8pm via the link at the top on the website.

To learn more facts about eating disorders, visit: