Planting Seeds Hoping to See Them Grow

Champion State of Mind’s fight for Iowans’ mental wellness.

Turn on the news, look at the news feeds on most social media platforms, or turn on the radio. You are certain to hear about the newest pandemic—COVID-19 or the Coronavirus. It seems as though this newest scare to our society is taking over the headlines. There is something, however, more urgent and more prevalent right in our own homes that exists at a much more staggering scale.  

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website, 1 in 5 people nationally experience some form of mental health crisis every year. That same ratio is related to just here in the state of Iowa. 1 in 5 people in Iowa equates to roughly 600,000 adults that live every day with a mental illness. Of those, 37,000 have a serious mental illness.

Now, there are a multitude of diagnoses that constitute a mental illness or serious mental illness. To name a few are eating disorders, depression, post traumatic stress, anxiety, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder and the list continues.

In our northwest Iowa region, there is a group of professionals that have taken this massive undertaking to combat these illnesses and to provide hope and healing to those who are battling them everyday.

In 2018, the second highest killer to individuals ages 10-24 was suicide. It is likely that most people reading or listening to this have known someone who had completed suicide. The word alone brings floods of emotion to even myself. So what is being done about this? What can people who are fighting with everything they have to be well do to get the necessary help they are wanting?

This isn’t just an adult problem either. Our kids are affected by most of these illnesses as well and can have a detrimental impact on them for years if the problems aren’t faced head on with the help of professionals like those at Champion State of Mind. Amanda Olson is the founder and CEO of Champion State of Mind, a private practice that is aimed at assisting and treating local northwest Iowans who are battling mental illnesses. Olson and her team of state licensed nurses, counselors and social workers have been assisting the surrounding areas since June of 2016.

“I wanted a vocation versus a job that I just clocked in and out at”, Olson said about when she began the private clinic. The clinic prides itself in being able to have their staff be true to who they are and staying genuine for the comfort of not themselves, but rather their clients who walk through their doors.

Having a wide array of mental illnesses that plague our family members and community members, the staff at Champion State of Mind make it their calling to combat so many of those to bring about change in the clients that they meet day in and out. Substance abuse, trauma, anxiety and depression are just a few of the categories that Olson’s staff are familiar with.

To Amanda, her vocation is in the likeness of gardening. The patients she sees are a big garden and it is the staff members job to plant the seeds in their minds to be taken care of and hopefully grow.

“As a therapist, it is not our job to tell them what to do”, Olson said. “We plant seeds hoping to see them grow”. When the seeds finally sprout, Olson says that that is the best moment in the whole process.

There are times when the counselors and staff members enter into their patients’ lives in the middle of the story or they are only able to get into half of that patient’s story never really getting the opportunity to see the growth of that client due to them leaving or moving away. The therapists can always hope that the seed being planted was successful in sprouting, but sometimes that isn’t the case.

One of the major battles that therapists across the board must work against is the stigma that is related to seeking help for mental health. From all walks of life, seeking mental health advice is a difficult admission that needs to be made. Champion State of Mind does its best in order to be able to make the clients as comfortable as possible and explaining to their clients what a therapists role is in their journey to wellness.

“Truly educating people on what therapy is about”, Olson said about trying to get people in the door who are seeking help. “Not only doing the very best that we can as providers and empowering the people we work with to be the best that they can be, but we do that efficiently and effectively. It means working in partnership in the groups around us, because we know that even though we are delivering quality work; it takes a tribe”.

Champion State of Mind is out to make sure to bring out the best quality treatment and counseling for its patients instead of quantity. Olson vets each and every one of her staff members and looks for people who have a great reputation and love for the process.

“We wear our name proudly”, Olson says. “The overall goal of Champion is not only deliver quality work in what we do as therapists, but also to do it within a partnership. I don’t know if Champion will ever be the one stop shop for everything, but I kinda have these big ideas to best meet the clients needs”.

For us outside of the therapist/counselor roles, I asked Amanda what we might be able to do as average people without the extensive training that therapists have to be able to help. She said it was actually really simple and cliché.

“The biggest thing that anyone can do is listen”, she said. “Because so many times people truly want to talk and are not looking for advise. They are trying to process how they feel with their words. If you know somebody struggling and you know that mental health support would be beneficial just let them talk”.

Mental health is one of the leading issues that law enforcement, medical staff, and many other occupations face on a daily basis. Finding and getting the help for those who are struggling is so important for longevity and a happy life. Reach out to the members of your family, your friends, your enemies! Everyone needs a shot at happiness and it is our duty as humans to help one another.

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, you can contact Amanda Olson and her team at Champion State of Mind around northwest Iowa. The phone numbers for those clinics is (800)-592-0810. Seek out assistance immediately, you will not be disappointed that you did!

For more information about mental wellness, visit Champion State of Mind’s website at the link below:

http://www.championmind.org/resources/index.php