CICS — News, Events, In the Real World and Provider Profile
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CICS Newsletter: November 2017


Graphic: Brain and First Aid Symbol

Mental Health First Aid: What is it?

Most of us would know how to help if we saw someone having a heart attack — we’d start CPR or call 9-1-1. But too few of us would know how to respond if we saw someone having a panic attack or if we were concerned that a friend or co-worker might be showing signs of alcoholism.


Mental Health First Aid is an eight-hour course that teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The program takes the fear and hesitation out of starting conversations about mental health and substance use problems by improving understanding and providing an action plan that teaches people to safely and responsibly identify and address a potential mental illness or substance use disorder.


The training gives you the skills you need to support someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem. More than one million people across the United States have been trained in Mental Health First Aid by a dedicated base of more than 12,000 instructors.


Who are Mental Health First Aiders? They’re teachers, first responders and veterans. They’re neighbors, parents and friends. They’re people in recovery, and those supporting a family member. They’re first ladies and mayors. Mental Health First Aiders are anyone who wants to make their community healthier, happier and safer.


CICS coordinates Mental Health First Aid training sessions monthly. See November’s opportunities below in our Calendar of Events.


Calendar of Events

November 1

AmeriHealth Caritas Community Relations and Outreach
Friendship Club
Iowa Falls | 1:30 p.m.


Mental Health First Aid Training
Story County Community Services Building — Multipurpose Room
Ames | 8:00 a.m.
Contact Kathy Johnson for registration.


November 2

Statewide Complex Service Needs Workgroup
Location: TBD | 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.


November 7 and 9

Mental Health First Aid — Hamilton County
Hamilton County Public Health
Webster City | 8:00 a.m.


November 8

Boone County Learning Community
Boone County Community Services Office
Boone | 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.


Jasper County Advisory Committee Meeting
Optimae Life Services
Newton | 2:00–3:00 p.m.


November 9

Poweshiek County Mental Health Consortium Meeting
Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Conference Center
Grinnell | 7:00 p.m.


Warren County Mental Health Subcommittee Meeting
Warren County Community Services Office
Indianola | 1:00 p.m.


November 14

Franklin County Community Services Open House
123 1st Avenue SW
Hampton | 3:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m.


November 15

Madison County Learning Community
Madison County Community Services Building
Winterset | 12:00–1:00 p.m.

Jasper County Mental Health Collaboration
Skiff Medical Center
Newton | 3:00 p.m.


November 16

NAMI Family Support Group
Skiff Medical Center
Newton | 7:00 p.m.
Meetings held the third Thursday of each month. Call 641-417-9993 for details.


November 20

Jasper County Substance Abuse Coalition Meeting
1302 1st Avenue W.
Newton | 11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.


November 21

Hardin County MHDS Advisory Board Meeting
Friendship Club
Iowa Falls | 8:30 a.m.

Statewide Complex Service Needs Workgroup
Location: TBD | 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.


November 30

CICS Governing Board Meeting
Story County Administration Building
Nevada | 1:00 p.m.


December 15

Annual Hardin County Faith in Action/Friendship Club “Reach Out at Christmas”
Bethany Lutheran Church
Iowa Falls | 4:00 p.m.–6:30 p.m.


By the Numbers

40 percent

of young adults ages 18–24 are enrolled in a two- or four-year educational institution.

75 percent

of mental illnesses develop before age 25, making colleges ideal locations for early identification.

The number one reason

students say they don’t use mental health resources is lack of knowledge that those resources even exist.

*Statistics from Mental Health First Aid



CICS in the Real World

Sunset Yoga


Ten Things You Can Do to Improve Your Mental Health

This November we’re focusing on how people can improve their mental health. The University of Michigan and the National Mental Health Association compiled the following 10 tips:


1. Value yourself
Treat yourself with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism. Make time for your hobbies and favorite projects, or broaden your horizons. Do a daily crossword puzzle, plant a garden, take dance lessons, learn to play an instrument or become fluent in another language.

2. Take care of your body
Taking care of yourself physically can improve your mental health. Be sure to:

  • Eat nutritious meals.
  • Avoid cigarettes.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Exercise, which helps decrease depression and anxiety and improves moods
  • Get enough sleep. Researchers believe that lack of sleep contributes to a high rate of depression in college students.

3. Surround yourself with good people
People with strong family or social connections are generally healthier than those who lack a support network. Make plans with supportive family members and friends, or seek out activities such as a club, class or support group where you can meet new people.

4. Give yourself
Volunteer your time to help someone else. You'll feel good about doing something tangible to help someone in need — and it's a great way to meet new people.

5. Learn how to manage stress
Like it or not, stress is a part of life. Practice good coping skills: Try one-minute stress strategies, do Tai Chi, exercise, take a nature walk, play with your pet or try journaling. Also, remember to smile and see the humor in life. Research shows that laughter can boost your immune system, ease pain, relax your body and reduce stress.

6. Quiet your mind
Try meditating, mindfulness and/or prayer. Relaxation exercises and prayer can improve your state of mind and outlook on life. In fact, research shows that meditation may help you feel calm and enhance the effects of therapy.

7. Set realistic goals
Decide what you want to achieve academically, professionally and personally, and write down the steps you need to realize your goals. Aim high, but be realistic and don't over-schedule. You'll enjoy a tremendous sense of accomplishment and self-worth as you make progress toward your goal.

8. Break up the monotony
Although our routines make us more efficient and enhance our feelings of security and safety, a change of pace can perk up a tedious schedule. Alter your jogging route, plan a road trip, take a walk in a different park, hang new pictures or try a new restaurant. See Rejuvenation 101 for more ideas.

9. Avoid alcohol and other drugs
Keep alcohol use to a minimum and avoid other drugs. Sometimes people use alcohol and other drugs to self-medicate but in reality, these substances only aggravate problems.

10. Get help when you need it
Seeking help is a sign of strength — not weakness. And it is important to remember that treatment is effective. People who get appropriate care can recover from mental illness and addiction and lead full, rewarding lives. CICS offers a 24-hour crisis line: 844-258-8858.


Provider Profile


Achieve: Mental Health Counseling Center

Achieve Mental Health, Inc.

Established in 2010 by Alison Brennan, Achieve Mental Health is a local private practice, operating in the Hardin County area with facilities in Iowa Falls and Eldora. Its therapists are dedicated to improving mental health in Hardin County.

Achieve Mental Health provides individual, couple and family counseling sessions typically lasting 45 minutes to an hour.

In addition, it also provides dialectic behavioral group therapy, a six-month class focusing on a having a wise mind, creating interpersonal relationships, practicing distress tolerance and using emotion regulation.

The Iowa Falls office is open Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., and the Eldora office is open Mondays and Thursdays 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For Iowa Falls, call 641-648-4010. For Eldora, call 641-939-3175.


About CICS

CICS* supports individuals and strengthens communities by serving the unique needs of individuals with mental health and intellectual and other developmental disabilities in 10 Iowa counties.

*CICS was formerly known as Central Iowa Community Services.