Ames Chamber of Commerce

Mental Health Concerns During Pandemic and Beyond Addressed in Public Forum on May 20

May 13, 2021

AMES, Iowa –Jason Haglund will present “Finding a Path Forward After a Year of Stress and Uncertainty,” as the keynote speaker at “Mental Health Wellness, Recovery, and Resiliency Initiative.” This public forum will address mental health concerns, identify symptoms of mental illness, and connect residents with resources in central Iowa. The event, in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month in May, will be hosted by Ames Mayor John Haila and include a panel discussion with mental health experts and time set aside for questions.

The forum will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 20, at the Ames City Auditorium, 520 Sixth St. For those who prefer to attend remotely, the event will be livestreamed on social media and later archived on the City of Ames website,

Haglund is a local mental health counselor and leader in the behavioral healthcare field. As owner of Haglund Consulting LLC., Haglund provides behavioral health subject matter expertise and executive coaching based in Story City. His talk will be followed by a panel of local mental health care experts sharing information about their organizations, programs, and services.

Some of the panelists featured at the forum include:

•           Cassi Cheney, program director of Optimae Life Services

•           Karla Webb, operations officer for CICS

•           Angela Tharp, executive director of NAMI of Central Iowa

•           Warren Phillips, licensed psychologist and director of Central Iowa Psychological Services (CIPS) and a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Iowa State University

•           Kinsey Phillips, mental health advocate with ISU

•           Tricia Crain, executive director of Arc of Story County

•           Brian Carico, therapeutic learning specialist with Ames Community School District

•           Breanna Degelau, community-based crisis services supervisor with Eyerly Ball Community Mental Health Services

•           Joseph Fox, a licensed clinician, will provide information and resources about YSS 

More than a year of social isolation and restrictions brought about by COVID-19 have contributed to an influx of mental health concerns affecting people of all ages, according to local public safety agencies.

“The pandemic has not only changed how we do things, it has also impacted the emotional health of all ages across our community, nation, and world. I am seeing an influx of mental health calls for service that suggest our community is suffering,” said Julie Saxton, Mental Health Advocate, Ames Police Department. “I strongly believe that this community mental health forum will be helpful for all residents to learn more about the resources in our community that can help put us back on the road to recovery as well as help our neighbors, friends, and community.”

The Mental Health Wellness Recovery, and Resiliency Initiative will include a series of mental health speakers, trainings, and educational opportunities planned through September. These forums are free and open to the public.


For More Information:

Julie Saxton, Mental Health Advocate, Ames Police Department,, 515.239.5463

Deb Schildroth, Assistant City Manager,, 515.239.5101

Susan Gwiasda, Public Relations Officer,, 515.239.5204

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