mental health awareness

By UnityPoint Health on Thursday, May 16, 2019

Mental illness doesn't discriminate. Get the help you deserve.

This blog was written by Kevin Vermeer, President and CEO of Unity Point Health:

At UnityPoint Health, we believe taking care of your mental health plays a major role in your overall wellbeing. And if you’re struggling — it’s nothing to be embarrassed of. In fact, seeking help is one of the bravest things you can do for yourself and for those who care about you.

The following information was written by my colleague, Dr. Dave Williams, CEO and President of UnityPoint Clinic and UnityPoint at Home. In it, he addresses the importance of combatting mental health stigmas and the resources UnityPoint Health has available to support the people in our communities.

RELATED: Why talking about mental health matters


Mental illness doesn’t discriminate: One in four people you know will encounter it during some point in their lifetime. The severity in which someone experiences a disorder ranges from situational to disorders with ongoing treatment.

UnityPoint Health provides mental health and substance abuse treatment in a variety of ways, including:

  • Inpatient psychiatric hospital units
  • Outpatient therapy and care (through hospitals and clinics)
  • Multiple community-based care coordination programs and services through our five affiliated Community Mental Health Centers

With our Iowa locations serving the highest number of mental health patients in the state, helping people manage their condition is a top priority.

Regularly talking about national health issues is an opportunity to ramp up awareness for illnesses that affect our lives, and those of the people we love.

Unfortunately, a stigma still exists with mental health. That’s detrimental when talking about a disorder that 450 million people suffer from and is one of the world’s leading causes of disability.

MAKE IT OK: End mental illness stigma in Iowa

I hope we all use May as a month to, without shame, start conversations that last throughout the year. The more we talk about mental illness and share personal experiences, the more we build community and comfort instead of judgement and isolation.

Then, maybe we can shine a brighter light on the darkness too many kids succumb to. We can help new mothers understand the sadness and angst they’re feeling might be more than the baby blues. We can tell a dear friend that a mental disorder doesn’t make them any less amazing, and they can get better.

RELATED: How are Iowans' mental health and wellbeing?

If you’ve been diagnosed with or think you might be suffering from a mental illness, find a UnityPoint Health mental and behavioral health expert near you.

As an organization, we’re going to keep showing up for you, because you matter so much to this world.  

vermeerKevin Vermeer assumed the role President and CEO of UnityPoint Health (formerly Iowa Health System) in January 2016. He's served the organization in a variety of leadership roles since 2000. Vermeer has over two decades of experience managing financial operations for leading health care organizations. Vermeer participates in community organizations, such as the Iowa Business Council and Greater Des Moines Committee. Vermeer also serves on the Healthiest State Initiative Board.