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MHDS Regions

Brain Health Iowa, a new statewide campaign from the Iowa Mental Health and Disability Services (MHDS) Regions, is focused on ending the stigma surrounding mental illness for the more than 600,000 Iowans who have experienced or are currently experiencing brain health challenges such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, PTSD and more.

Brain health struggles can affect people of all ages and backgrounds at any time. In fact, more than 50 million Americans, or roughly one in every five individuals, are living with brain health disorders. Through the Brain Health Iowa campaign, the Iowa MHDS Regions seek to advocate for Iowans struggling with brain health disorders, letting them and others know that they are more than a diagnosis — it’s “brain health,” not “mental illness.”

“Words are powerful and can have severe implications to those on the receiving end,” notes Mae Hingtgen, chief executive officer of the Mental Health and Disability Services of the East Central Region. “Iowans struggling with brain health disorders should not be made to feel as if they’re flawed or unstable. The Brain Health Iowa campaign encourages all Iowans to swap ‘mental illness’ for ‘brain health’ as part of their everyday vocabulary and consider the benefits of brain health wellness as a means to improve overall health.”

The campaign also aims to improve connectivity to resources for Iowans struggling with brain health challenges. The Iowa MHDS includes 14 regions that work with care providers across the state to ensure that a range of affordable, well-organized and high-quality services are available for Iowans, wherever and whenever they need support. They work with Iowans to address concerns about brain health, personal wellbeing, developmental disabilities, addiction and more.

“Another goal of the Brain Health Iowa campaign is to improve the quality of life for Iowans,” says Russell Wood, chief executive officer of the Central Iowa Community Services Region. “Often individuals do not know where to turn for help. Through the Brain Health Iowa campaign, we encourage these individuals to reach out to their local MHDS Region for immediate support, whatever the situation. And many of our services are free.”

Iowa’s MHDS Regions are helping Iowans take back control of their brain health and end the stigma that says individuals shouldn’t talk about their struggles. Help is available. The Iowa MHDS Regions can connect those struggling with brain health to many services: 24/7 crisis lines, mobile crisis response teams available for in-person support, counseling and therapy sessions, peer support groups, physical therapy, supported housing, job development, service coordination and much more. Visit to locate brain health resources in your area and follow the campaign’s social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

About Iowa’s MHDS Regions

Iowa’s MHDS Regions are responsible for planning, coordinating, monitoring, improving and partially funding mental health and disability services for the state of Iowa. Iowa’s MHDS Regions consist of 14 regions throughout the state, which all engage in a variety of activities that promote a well-coordinated statewide system of high-quality brain health services and support. Iowa MHDS Regions are a proud partner of Brain Health Now and Brain Health Iowa.

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