(Clarinda) -- May is Mental Health Awarness Month and one in five individuals are impacted by mental health issues at some point in their lifetime, making the month's emphasis on mental health quite important.
Bernie Wagoner, Clinical Director for Southwest Iowa Families joined Wednesday's "Morning Routine" to talk about the importance of mental health and what SW Iowa Families does to assist with mental health awareness
"Every one of us has a friend or neighbor who has mental illness," Wagoner said. "We are working hard to stop the stigma associated with mental illness and want to combat the negative attitudes and prejudices that have historically prevented people from accessing treatment and tends to isolate people from their communities."
While May is Mental Health Awareness Month, Wagoner notes that mental health awareness is year-round.
"We really want for people to know if they're struggling with mental illness, they're not alone," Wagoner said. "Getting support isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength."
Wagoner says support is important for those who are suffering from mental health and that mental health impacts those of all ages, including youth and young adults.
"About 50 percent of kids who have mental illness over age 18 drop out of school, that's a big number," Wagoner said. "Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for persons 15 to 24-years-old. When we think about adults who had mental illness, most began experiencing symptoms before age 14."
SW Iowa Families offers many services to help youth with mental illness.
"We really care about our kids," Wagoner said. "Over half the clients we serve our kids. Our professional staff are really experts at providing assessment for therapy and children."
Services for youth offered by SW Iowa Families include the Positive Family Program and the NEST program.
Anyone wishing for more information about the services or programs offered by SW Iowa Families can contact them at 712-542-3501.
Wagoner made her remarks on Wednesday's "Morning Routine" program. The complete interview can be heard below.