Many people may not think twice about visiting a doctor when they’re not feeling their best physically. However, many may choose to hide their mental health issues because they feel ashamed of their struggles. With one in five Americans facing mental health issues, it’s time to normalize seeking help.

The providers in Iowa’s Mental Health and Disability Services (MHDS) Regions are hoping to do just that. Earlier this year, representatives in all 14 regions united to create a Brain Health Iowa campaign, intended to fight the stigma against mental health issues and connect Iowans to local care.

To change the way we consider mental health struggles, the MHDS Regions providers wanted Iowans to know mental health needs are just as unique and important as their physical health. The brain is one of the most important parts of a body, and some people experience short- or long-term brain health challenges. To bridge the cognitive gap, the client redefined mental health as brain health.

The MHDS Regions turned to Trilix to help thoughtfully craft an integrated marketing campaign that conveyed this new way of thinking to Iowans. Because they partnered with the national campaign Brain Health Now, the MHDS Regions expanded on the “End the Stigma” theme that encourages indviduals to talk about mental health struggles without shame. Trilix incorporated Brain Health Now’s signature bright red and stark black colors, which grab viewers’ attention and convey the seriousness of the topic. Graphics Trilix created portray individuals shadowed by brain health struggles with their smiling images overlaid on top, depicting how beneficial brain health help can be. Trilix also partnered with the MHDS Regions to create a website that encapsulates the campaign’s objectives: encouraging Iowans to prioritize brain health and offering tools for any individual, no matter their age, to get help. An interactive map allows users to find a brain health service provider’s contact information in their local area.

We also collaborated with MHDS Regions to produce of series of videos and images depicting the varying brain health struggles that Iowans of all ages and backgrounds are faced with every day, in addition to informational blogs that we cross promote through the campaign’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn channels. Recent pieces have illuminated the connection between brain health and physical health and the importance of mobile crisis services for Iowans throughout the state. We also team up with the MHDS Regions to support their digital and media relations efforts to ensure all messages are reaching their intened audiences.

These efforts couldn’t be timelier. Many Iowans face unique mental health struggles, such as agricultural workers who have particularly unpredictable work stress and older Iowans in rural settings who may face isolation and loneliness. But the stress and unpredictability of the pandemic has wreaked havoc on all Iowans’ brain health.

The Iowa MHDS Regions have already reached tens of thousands of Iowans through this campaign. And while many organizations, businesses and individuals will be talking about mental health during May — National Mental Health Awareness Month — the message doesn’t stop there. The MHDS Regions, through the Brain Health Iowa campaign, will continue to encourage Iowans to talk about brain health struggles and reach out to professionals who can help. We hope Iowans will no longer feel like their struggles are insurmountable and brain health issues are out of their control.

Need help with your brain health or simply want someone to talk to? Find help close to home by visiting IowaMHDSRegions.org.