Karol White speaks about how mental health should be addressed before it becomes a serious health issue.

With the massive changes that are about to take place within the health care system, the question of mental health becomes more and more important. Many cuts have been made to the current health care system and people are concerned about what the future may hold for people affected by mental illness or situations that may cause for psychiatric help.

According to Karol White, director of counseling, she feels that mental health is an issue that should be taken seriously. She feels that mental health should be addressed before it becomes a medical issue.

"One of my greatest concerns with the way we currently treat mental health is that treatment is still very much managed in a reactive medical model," said White. "Medical models tend to diagnose a problem and treat the problem. A medical model doesn't always look for the root cause, and more importantly, it probably doesn't look for what is going well."

She believes that instead of fixing the symptoms of the mental health issues, the causes of those issues should be what is treated first; it is an issue of preventative medicine. Because of that, she feels that idea of mental health is extremely important today, and in Iowa.

There are too many individuals still avoiding treatment because they believe myths such as 'a diagnosis will prevent someone from hiring me', or 'if I seek help, they'll put me on medication, no matter what,'" White said.

White believes that removing the stigma from mental illness can go a long way towards making sure that people are emotionally healthy and supported by their families and communities.

According to White, the idea of mental health awareness and resilience building should be part of the curriculum in every area of education. Her dream would be to see a world where everyone is supported. Everyone deserves to have a support network of friends and family who are able to help them when they need it.

Mental health should be treated the same as a chronic health condition. White believes that no one would tell someone with a chronic health condition that they should just "cheer up" or wish the condition away. In that case, mental health problems shouldn't be treated that way either.

Mount Mercy University is very supportive of its students and staff that may be in need of emotional support. Mount Mercy provides free and confidential counseling services. The counseling office has built a partnership with the Olson MFT clinic and now has a staff of counselors to support the needs of the student body.

As the director of counseling services, White works with the staff to provide support on any level that a client may need the help.

While the future may be uncertain for mental health patients as a whole in our state, Mount Mercy supports its students and wants them to be as healthy as they can, both physically and emotionally.