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

Tag: #mentalhealth

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

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:

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:

Aug 31

Coping with the Transition from High School to College

Posted By iamincontrol | August 31, 2017

Life is hard. This realization hit me the hardest when I made the transition from high school to college. In high school, I did not struggle with school, making friends, or keeping my spirits high. I was involved in soccer, volleyball, along with many clubs during my high school years. I came home every night to my loving parents and siblings and life was good.

When my freshman year of college rolled around, my attitude began to change. I was no longer living with my support system and I was thrown into difficult classes that I had thought I was prepared for. I immediately spiraled into a stressed out, sad, and anxious state. I figured this was normal, considering how stressed out my friends were too. I felt amazing when I finally got a month at home with my mom and dad. I was ready to take on second semester head-on. I returned to school, but did not finish the year as I had expected. I found it hard to get out of bed for my classes, and had no ambition to finish any homework assignments. I finished the school year with a terrible GPA.

It was strange when I realized I found myself struggling with my mood when it was summer time and I had no reason to feel anxious. I kept it to myself, afraid to let anyone know this is what I was feeling. I hit my breaking point when sophomore year of college came around. I cried almost every day for the first month of school.

I knew I needed to talk to my mom and she quickly scheduled me an appointment at home, and she went with me for support. The doctor explained to me that I had what was called “anxious depression”. I was so relieved to hear that I had medication options and an opportunity to talk to a counselor about how I was feeling.

My advice to anyone who is feeling like how I felt is to talk to someone you know about what you have been experiencing! You will not regret it when you are happy as ever, finally feeling yourself again. Follow the link below to visit a self-help website with coping tips to overcome the struggles when you are feeling low.

Jul 13

What You Can Learn About Mental Health From ‘13 Reasons Why’

Posted By iamincontrol | July 13, 2017

The Netflix Series ‘13 Reasons Why’ became popular very quickly after its release. Many people love that the show talks about important social issues, such as bullying, mental health, and suicide. While these issues are important to talk about, the way that the characters address some of them could have been handled better. Here are some of the problems with ‘13 Reasons Why’ (warning: spoilers ahead) and what you can do to help someone you know who is struggling with their feelings or mental health.

  1. Get Help Right Away

While many of the characters react to the stress in their lives by turning to reckless behavior, no one really talks about mental health. The characters keep the information of the tapes to themselves and don’t reach out for help while they are processing their emotions and grief. Hannah herself does not reach out for help at any time until she goes to talk to the school counselor. This makes it seem like reaching out for help with your mental health is something that isn’t normal or only happens when a person has thoughts about suicide, which isn’t true. If at any point a person is struggling with their feelings or mental health, they should talk to someone (a parent, a school counselor, or another trusted adult) right away to get help.

  1. Bullying Can Contribute to Suicide, But It Is Often More Complicated Than That

Towards the end of the series, Clay confronts the school counselor about not believing Hannah’s story and not doing enough to help her. Clay’s blames Hannah’s death on the classmates who bullied her and believes that he could have saved her by telling her he loved her. Bullying by itself does not automatically cause suicide because mental health and suicide are a lot more complex than that. A person’s mental health, relationships at home or school, academic performance, and even physical health contribute to suicidal thoughts including.

Having loving and supporting people in your life can make it easier to deal with bullying. However, mental health conditions like anxiety and depression can make it very hard to believe the nice things that people say to you or about you. While being kind to others is important, there are no magic words to make someone’s mental health better. If you know someone who is being bullied, get help right away.

So how do you help? You can do several things:

  • Be a good listener
  • Offer to support a friend by walking with them to the school counselor
  • Be there when a friend talks to their parents to help them be more comfortable

In a situation where you think the other person is in danger, don’t try to handle it yourself. Tell a trusted adult what is going on right away.

  1. It Is Never Too Late To Get Help

When the counselor responds to Clay, he says Hannah had already made up her mind about dying by suicide and nothing he could do would help. This is wrong. Often, people talking about suicidal thoughts or behaviors is their way of reaching out for help. Knowing the signs and symptoms of someone who is suicidal can make it easier to reach out to them so they can get help sooner. If the counselor had been better at listening to Hannah and then directly asked her if she was thinking about suicide, he might have been able to have a longer conversation with her and gotten her help.

If you are having thoughts about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK.

For other help lines, check out this link:

To help a friend or learn about signs and symptoms, check out this link:

Jun 15

My Boyfriend was Suffering from Depression and I Didn’t Know It

Posted By iamincontrol | June 15, 2017

I started dating the most popular kid in school in the eighth grade. He played football, basketball, and baseball and ran track. We went to different schools but the same church, I was secretly glad for this because I was definitely not as cool as him in my head. We dated for almost two years and it was a rough relationship. I knew he was taking other girls on movie dates and I would complain about him to my friends and other boys. We broke up in early January, and in late January he committed suicide. I felt, and still feel so much guilt. I felt like I was the last straw, the one that pushed him over the edge, I felt like it was all my fault. I later learned that he struggled with depression, but I had no idea! I had known him since elementary school, and dated him for a long time and I had no idea what he was struggling with every waking moment of his life. He was the most popular boy I had ever met; he was always happy; I never could have imagined someone like him would be dealing with depression.

It has been a couple of years since his passing, and his death has taught me that there isn’t “one size fits all” for depression. Depression can affect anyone, at any age, and with any popularity status.

Go to the following link to find out more about depression

May 25

What Can Kanye West Teach Us About Self-Care?

Posted By iamincontrol | May 25, 2017

In November, Kanye West was hospitalized to receive psychiatric treatment after placing a “medical welfare” call. Police responded to the 911 call and reportedly admitted the rapper for his own health and safety. According to West’s friends and family, his hospitalization followed several sleepless nights where he would stay up drawing and exercising. The circumstances surrounding his hospitalization were extremely demanding. Kanye was in the middle of his tour, maintaining his personal fashion line, contributing to a contract made with Adidas, and was involved with complex family dynamics and stressors. Those closest to him say that he was extremely overworked and overwhelmed in the days prior to placing the 911 call.

Since the rapper’s hospitalization, he has been ridiculed for canceling the remaining days of his tour. Both fans and fellow celebrities have mocked him during a time where he clearly needs support, well-wishes, and to feel understood.  Unfortunately, we live in a society that expects business. We equate success with active involvement in a variety of activities. We look up to people who can juggle the most extra-curricular activities at once. When someone experiences a stressor or traumatic life event, it is often expected that they may miss a class or two, but after you attend that appointment or return from that funeral, it’s time to make up your school work and anything else you may have missed.

Kanye West’s hospitalization speaks to the ways that these sorts of expectations are unrealistic and harmful. Is it wrong to engage with the things you enjoy? Of course not! But it is important to remember that you are only human, and you cannot run at 100% capacity 100% of the time.

For more information on self-care or to access several resources related to self-care visit:

May 16

You’re Not a Burden

Posted By iamincontrol | May 16, 2017

Guest blog from a mental health professional:

When you are experiencing a mental health issue, such as depression or anxiety, reaching out to another person can be a difficult thing to do. You don’t want to be a burden or want to bring anyone else down with you. These feelings can make you feel isolated and alone. It can create fear and feelings of being judged. While your experiences are unique to you, there are people who have similar thoughts, feelings, and situations similar to you.

You are not alone. Many social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists and other professionals have personal experience with mental health issues. They may have friends or family members whom have a mental health issue or have issues themselves. We are trained to not judge and they understand that your experience is unique to you. We want to hear your story and hear your needs. There are many people who are willing to help and reaching out is the first step.

In Iowa, we have some fantastic supports for people with mental health issues. Have you ever noticed the phone number at the top of our website? That’s our Teenline which is open 24/7 just call 1-800-443-8336. Or you can chat online Monday through Friday 8am-8pm with the link at the top of the page.

Another resource is the Iowa Help Line. They provide help to people in a crisis situation or need help with finding additional resources or need to someone to talk to about issues they may be having. They have an online chat from 2pm-2am at and you can also call or text them at 1-855-800-1239.

If you live in the Iowa City area, UAY/United Action for Youth is a fantastic organization. It is a safe space for teens. They have many different activities and groups that people can be a part of. They also provide counseling for teens. They are located at 355 Iowa Ave. in Iowa City, there phone number is 319-358-9406. They also have an on call counselor for teens, there on-call number is 310-338-7518. There website is

To find resources near you visit: