September 2020 Edition
Crisis Response News and More
Welcome to the September 2020 edition of the Southwest Iowa MHDS Regional Newsletter.
In this newsletter, the region will provide information about National Suicide Awareness Month and information from the Wellbeing Partners regarding their Mental Health Stigma Reduction Campaign.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month
A July 2020 CDC Report showed that a quarter of young adults had contemplated suicide during the pandemic.

“Many in our communities can become particularly overwhelmed when stress connected to a pandemic causes hopelessness,” said Suzanne Watson, CEO, Southwest Iowa Mental Health & Disability Services Region.

SWIA MHDS Region is available to provide stability and support to help those suffering from anxiety, stress, and suicidal thoughts feel better. “We know that people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone talks to them in a caring way. Acknowledging and talking about suicide may reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts,” continued Watson.

There are ways to protect against suicidal thoughts and behaviors, such as support from family and community, or feeling connected. Reach out online, the HOPE4IOWA Crisis Call Line (available 24/7 for free at 844-673-4469). Connections are available through social media, video chat, or by phone. Access to in-person or virtual counseling or therapy can help with suicidal thoughts and behavior, particularly during a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. 

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Southwest Iowa MHDS Region wants everyone to know that suicide is preventable and that many people find talking can alleviate painful suicidal thoughts and feelings. The Region remains dedicated to informing communities about the importance of suicide prevention every day of the year; it will increase efforts during National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

SWIA MHDS Region efforts include sharing the resources the organization has available, including crisis services such as the HOPE4IOWA Crisis Call Line. HOPE4IOWA connects individuals in crisis to trained counselors who provide resources to address and help improve mental wellness. 

“It is the vision of SWIA MHDS Region to serve the residents of our region by filling gaps in human services,” said Stephanie Grade, Clinical Specialist at the HOPE4IOWA Crisis Call Line. “Suicide can be prevented with multiple strategies that include comprehensive ways to help Iowa residents increase their access to various informal and formal supports.”

Grade said there are many suicide warning signs, and by recognizing individuals at higher risk, each one of us can help prevent suicide.

“Some signs might include talking about death or dying, significant changes in eating and sleeping habits, social withdrawal from friends and family, losing interest in activities, substance abuse, uncontrolled anger or agitation, and increased risky behaviors,” Grade said.

The HOPE4IOWA Crisis Call Line was established to improve mental wellness, hope and outcomes for residents of Southwest Iowa in times of crisis. Anyone can call the helpline phone number for free at 844-673-4469.  
Campaign Spotlight
The Wellbeing Partners in partnership with The Public Good Projects (PGP), are on a mission to reduce stigma surrounding mental health conditions and need your help! They have created a people forward, story based campaign designed to challenge perceptions and change the conversation around mental health. The campaign is a multi platform approach to help educate our local community about mental health and show that no one is defined by a mental health condition.

Midwest is an education-based campaign inspired by the unconditional love and understanding that animals provide. The campaign invites community members to submit pictures and videos of their animals and/or pets, which are then paired with simple messages of encouragement, support, and facts about mental health. These messages are for everyone, not just people who have an interest in mental health or live with a mental health condition.

  • Share your own story with a mental health condition or as an ally at and encourage others to do the same.
  • Follow and engage with us on social media on Facebook
  • and Twitter, and Instagram @WhatMakesUsMW

The SWIA MHDS Region's Crisis Stabilization Services

Mental Health Crisis Response Team

Provides multiple crisis service

Precommital screening for residents of the SWIA Region

Assessments for court ordered committals

Telehealth Crisis Response available to SWIA Region residents. Services include assessment, stabilization and referrals to community services. This service can only be initiated by Law Enforcement

These services are expanding into all counties in the Region

For further information, Law Enforcement can contact Jenny Stewart (Director) at 712-325-5619

"To avoid the need for an Emergency Protective Custody hold or inpatient psychiatric hospitalization"

Service provided by Heartland Family Service
Call (712) 303-7066 to make a referral

Referrals accepted 24 hours a day

A screening set up within 24 hours

Accepts referrals from friends, family, emergency departments and outpatient providers

Accepts referrals from Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie and Shelby counties

"Provides a safe, caring, and home-like environment to those with a mental illness in crisis while modeling skills needed to successfully navigate in the community"

Service provided by Waubonsie Mental Health Center

Call (844) 673-4469 for help and support

Crisis line available 24/7, toll free and confidential

Connects individuals in crisis to a helping hand and the resources to address and improve mental wellness

Anyone can call, including service providers on behalf of clients and patients

For residents of Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie and Shelby counties

"Improving mental wellness, hope and outcomes for residents of Southwest Iowa in times of crisis"

Service operated by Boys Town