Mental Health Awareness Month

May 04, 2022

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we are highlighting the progress Iowa’s community health centers have made in meeting the mental health needs of Iowans. The Iowa Primary Care Association takes immense pride in supporting Iowa’s community health centers mission to provide whole-health care to all their patients, even throughout the pandemic.

Iowa PCA along with a few health centers, participated in the Delta Center grant from 2018-2021 funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. As a result, participating clinics in Eastern and Central Iowa as well as Storm Lake area built strategic partnerships with their partner community mental health centers and collaborated for improved care coordination for shared patients through enhanced referrals, follow-ups, and data sharing. 

Over the past few years, the health centers have persistently adopted innovative solutions to improve access to services and reduce the barriers patients with mental health needs face.

Infinity Health and Eastern Iowa Health Center have partnered to extend tele-psychiatry services to patients in the eastern Iowa area, allowing them to better meet the psychiatric/medication management needs of the patients. Peoples Clinic in Waterloo and CHC/SEIA in West Burlington have implemented the Youth SBIRT model to screen youth ages 12-18 during well-child visits for mental health and substance use, providing brief interventions and referral to treatment if needed.   

In addition, many health centers now have onsite Behavioral Health consultants embedded in the medical units who screen all patients for mental health conditions. This not only helps identify co-occurring mental health issues due to chronic physical health conditions, but it is also a step forward in normalizing “check-up from the neck-up” as part of routine primary care, helping to reduce stigma associated with mental health. 

It is evident that it takes a village and shared efforts of state associations, community organizations, payors, primary care providers, Behavioral Health providers, patients, and families to ensure that each person has an equal and fair chance to live a healthy life – both physically and mentally!   

Throughout the pandemic, many Americans have experienced feeling stressed, anxious, depressed and isolated. In fact, 1 in 5 adults (52.9 million adults) in the U.S. experienced mental illness in 2020, and everyone continues to face challenges that impact our mental health. This May let’s help raise awareness of those living with mental or behavioral health issues, elevate the importance of prioritizing mental health, and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.


Check out NAMI’s Together for Mental Health Awareness campaign all throughout 2022: Mental Health Month | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

Learn more about how you can stop mental illness stigma: How You Can Stop Mental Illness Stigma | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness