Girls happily reading their books - at Orchard Place Des Moines

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Orchard Place


May 1, 2019

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. During the month, Orchard Place will be posting on our social media accounts each day. Here is our Mental Health Awareness fact for May 1.

One in five children and youth struggle with their mental health. Seventy-percent of adult mental health issues begin during childhood or adolescence. Depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorders often being during childhood. Statistics show that 80% of youth who receive help improve significantly with treatment.

If you think your child is struggling with mental or behavioral health issues, contact Orchard Place. We help more than 8,500 Iowa kids each year. Call the Orchard Place Child Guidance Center at 515-244-2267 or email #mentalhealthawarenessmonth



May 2, 2019

Children rarely get over or grow out of a mental health issue. Children with untreated mental health issues are more likely to develop into more debilitating mental health conditions. These problems become more challenging to treat in adulthood.

Early interventions are key to helping children and young adults successfully deal with mental health issues. If you have questions or are looking for help for your child, contactOrchard Placeat 515-244-2267 or email




May 3, 2019

Orchard PlaceChild Guidance Center promotes community mental health through multiple professional mental health services for children, youth, and their families.

The Child Guidance Center is an accredited children's Community Mental Health Center providing outpatient services by licensed staff in the fields of child psychiatry, clinical psychology, clinical social work, and child development.

If you feel your child needs support with their behavioral or mental health needs, please call 244-2267, and our staff will assist you in understanding resources available.#MentalHealthAwarenessMonth



May 4, 2019 

Is your child spending too much time in front of a computer, phone, and or a television each day?

Excessive screen-time appears to impair brain structure and function. Slowed language development and other frontal lobe activity that takes place in the brain may be impaired due to excess screen time.

But how much is too much? Recommendations for parents are to cut screen-time to no more than 2 hours a day, and no more than one hour for a child age 2 to 5.




May 5, 2019

Orchard Place is fortunate to have some of the most dedicated and compassionate individuals serving on our Operating and Foundation Board.


John Parmeter has served on the Orchard Place Operating Board of Directors for seven years. He is currently serving as Vice President of the Board and is the Chairman of the Program Committee. His daughter Maddie suffered from borderline personality disorder, depression, and social anxiety. Despite her illness, she was funny, loving, and sensitive. She found peace in working with animals and loved photography, music, and her family. She ended her life in 2016.

Here is what John said when asked why he supports Orchard Place:


I give my time and money to Orchard Place (andEyerly Ball, the State Mental Health and Disability Services Commission, and the State Children's Behavioral Health Board) because I want to improve the mental health system and our society's view of mental health. I believe that people should discuss their mental health issues just as openly as they talk about their physical health problem. It is part of the healing process.


I want to improve access to mental health services and the array of services that will allow people with mental health issues to participate in life and work. At the end of Maddies life, she was stuck in her mental illness. She couldn't make any progress in coping with her illness, and she couldn't find any joy or fulfillment in life. Thus, she ended her life. Today would have been her 25th birthday. I want better outcomes for those who come after us.

Thank you, John, for the work you do to assure Iowas kids have brighter futures.




 May 6, 2019

One in five students will experience a mental health problem each year. Of these students, the majority will not access mental health services, and those that do will do so only in the school setting.

School-based mental health services have been shown to improve academic outcomes and reduce emotional and behavioral challenges for students. If you have questions or are looking for help for your child, contactOrchard Placeat 515-244-2267 or email





May 7, 2019

Treatment works! Treatments for mental illnesses are more numerous and more sophisticated than ever. Researchers continue to discover new therapies. Because of these advances, many children and adults can and do recover from mental illness.

If you have questions or are looking for help for your child, contactOrchard Placeat 515-244-2267 or email Of course, you can always visit us online




May 8, 2019

Evidence-based treatment programs for children experiencing a mental health issue have proven themselves as the best way to change thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that cause problems. Research shows that treatment during the first few years during which symptoms appear has the best outcome.


If you have questions or are looking for help for your child, contact Orchard Place at 515-244-2267 or email




May 9, 2019

Earlier this month, Amber Rand and Liberty Morrow of Orchard Place were selected to present at the Sanctuary Institute Network Days Conference. People from around the world gathered to learn more about how the Sanctuary Model is making a difference in both nonprofit and corporate environments.

The theme of the conference; Evolution: The Transformation of Resilient Organizations, focused on the sharing of transformative experiences and strategies in the practice of the Sanctuary Model. Individuals from around the world attended to learn more about how organizations like Orchard Place use the Model to connect, provide hope, and build sustainability via the application of various trauma-responsive practices.


"Orchard Place is honored to have been asked to share our Sanctuary story and results at such a prestigious conference," said Anne Starr, Chief Executive Officer at Orchard Place.


The Sanctuary Model originated in the Philadelphia area in the early 1980s, created by Dr. Sandra Bloom and her colleagues. Dr. Bloom was a featured speaker at the 2014 Trauma Informed Care Conference that was sponsored by Orchard Place.

Orchard Place is the only organization in Iowa to have received Sanctuary Certification.

Funding to implement the Sanctuary Model at Orchard Place came from the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, the Gartner Foundation, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, Principal Financial Group and theUnited Way of Central Iowa.




May 10, 2019

Deaths associated with drug and alcohol use are one of the leading preventable causes of death for youth ages 15-24. Alcohol and drug use also contributes to school underachievement, delinquency, teen pregnancy, depression, and suicide.

Early education and treatment are vital to identifying and addressing these risk factors and help get our young people back on track toward a successful future.

If you're concerned or looking for help for yourself or your child, theOrchard PlaceSubstance Use Services team is here to help. We provide caring and confidential assessments and services for youth ages 21 and under in Polk and Dallas Counties.


Our Substance Use Team has a combined experience of more than 30+ years and specialize in adolescent mental health and substance use. For questions, contact Orchard Place PACE at 515-697-5700 or email




May 11, 2019

Orchard Place is proud to partner with the Clive Police Department to spread the word about mental health.

During May, two police cruisers are sporting the green ribbon. Mental health awareness is represented by a green ribbon worldwide.


Mental health issues affect 1 in 5 people nationwide, and at some point, touch the lives of all of us. The Clive Police Department are also selling our commemorative green patch for $5.00 each to help raise funds to support treatment programs in the metro area. They are available at the Clive PD, 8505 Harbach Blvd., Clive, Iowa 50325 or by contacting one of our officers directly.

Thank you to everyone at the Clive Police Department for the difficult work you do and for recognizing the importance of children's mental health.



May 12, 2019

Orchard Place made the decision to adopt the Sanctuary Model in April 2015. In October 2018, Orchard Place became the first organization in Iowa to become Sanctuary certified.

The introduction of the Sanctuary model has given Orchard Place the tools and common language to put those principles into action fully. Sanctuary has expanded and provided a more structured approach of the Trauma Informed Care work that was already implemented and practiced within the organization.


The model has allowed staff to share a common values system, with a common language, and has drastically improved Orchard Place as a place of employment, as well as, the quality and depth of services provided to clientele.



May 13, 2019

Orchard Place uses Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. It is an evidenced-based intervention used for both adults and children. It is a short term therapy which uses eye movements and bilateral stimulation (sound, touch, pulses) to process trauma or adverse events, so the individual is not distressed by the memories/thoughts.

EMDR therapy has been used with children and adolescents with a wide variety of emotional and psychological problems, including PTSD, anxiety, phobias, depression, attachment disorders. EMDR is a short-term treatment intervention.

We have attached a link to a YouTube video that describes how one therapist used EMDR to help an adult patient.



May 14, 2019

Orchard Place has a long history using Trauma-informed care practices.

Trauma-Informed Care is not a mental health intervention; rather, it is an organizational framework that understands the impact of trauma on all persons, including clients, employees, and organizations. Recognizing this impact, the organizations implement these 4 Essential Elements in practicing TIC with consumers and providers.

1. Connect- Focusing on the importance of establishing a relationship and maintaining connections to stay healthy systemically and individually.

2. Protect  Focusing on the importance of establishing safety and trustworthiness within those relationships, and within the organization, so all feel safe psychologically, emotionally, physically, and morally.

3. Respect- Focusing on the importance of giving individuals choices and the ability for collaboration to give a sense of control and empowerment.

4. Redirect- Focusing on the recognition of skills in behaviors, not the deficits then building upon and redirecting those skills in a greater purpose so individuals and organizations can flourish.




May 15, 2019

What is 'child anxiety?'

Children who suffer from a generalized anxiety disorder may:

 Experience feelings of intense fear

 Become always "on edge."

 Suffer from severe nervousness

 Become shyer

 Start to avoid people, places, and activities

 Have an uncontrollable urge to cry

 Change their diet or sleep pattern

 Suffer from physical ailments like headache, fatigue, chest pain or nausea

*These symptoms may resemble other conditions or problems. Always consult with a provider for a diagnosis.

Types of Anxiety Disorders in Children and Teens

In addition to generalized anxiety disorder, youth may suffer from other forms of anxiety, such as:

 Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - Unwanted and intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and feelings to repeatedly perform rituals and routines (compulsions) to try and ease anxiety.

 Separation Anxiety Disorder - Feelings of excessive anxiety, extreme homesickness, and feelings of misery when away from home or when separated from parents or caregivers.

 Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - Experience intense fear and anxiety, become emotionally numb or irritable quickly, and avoid places, people, or activities after experiencing/witnessing a traumatic event

 Panic Disorder

 Social Anxiety Disorder - Intense fear of social situations and activities, like public speaking or starting a conversation with a peer.

 Phobias - Intense, irrational fear of a specific object, such as a spider, or a situation, such as a doctor's office.

If you have questions or are looking for help for your child, contactOrchard Placeat 515-244-2267 or email




May 16, 2019

Congratulations to Sydney Peter, the 2019 recipient of the Marjorie Koss Kurtz Educational Scholarship fromOrchard Place.


Sydney graduates from Boone High School this weekend and will use the scholarship to pursue her dream of becoming a special education teacher.

Amber Rand, Orchard Place Vice President of Campus, was on hand to present the award.

Congratulations Sydney from everyone at Orchard Place!



May 17, 2019

Orchard PlaceCampus is an 88-bed Psychiatric Medical Institute for Children (PMIC.) We provide highly structured, intensive mental health treatment to children who cannot function within their home communities. We are accredited by the Joint Commission and the Sanctuary Model.

Our therapeutic campus offers trauma-informed treatment for children between the ages of 10-17 at the time of admission.

Individual, family, group, and recreational therapy is provided along with educational services through the DM Public Schools.

Thousands of children have completed treatment at Orchard Place since the mid-1960s.

If you have questions about getting help for your child, Orchard Place can help. Contact Orchard Place at 515-244-2267 or email




May 18, 2019

Why a 'Safety Plan' is essential:

Adversity is an inherent part of the human experience, and these experiences shape how people behave, interact, and respond. We are all vulnerable to overwhelming emotions, especially under high levels of stress or trauma. Each day, we are faced with situations that can test our ability to keep our minds and bodies calm. Safety plans are tools to help people feel in control of their feelings and behaviors when challenging situations occur.

Safety Plans contain simple, realistic things that can be done individually or with support from someone else to manage emotions in the moment. Examples include going for a walk, taking deep breaths, eating a snack, and listening to music.

To create your safety plan, consider which emotions are most difficult for you to manage and what situations trigger those emotions. Then identify things you can do to keep yourself and those around you to feel safe, secure, calm, and well. Write the ideas down and keep them visible and accessible.



May 19, 2019

Orchard Place offers Love and Logic, a parenting class that has been around since 1977. It was designed to give parents proven tools to raise respectful, responsible, and happy kids. Skills taught to parents focus on how to avoid un-winnable power-struggles and arguments, set enforceable limits, avoid enabling and begin empowering, assist kids in learning from mistakes rather than repeating and raise kids who are family members.

One father that attended, at the recommendation of his wife, stated that skills he learned help repair the relationship he had with his young son who experiences mental health issues. The father explained that his parenting skills before attending Love and Logic exacerbated the mental health symptoms of his son and strained their relationship. After completing the curriculum, the father expressed that he felt his parenting skills allowed him to be more empathetic while setting enforceable limits and consequences.

To register for the next class, visit:



 May 20, 2019

TRUST BASED RELATIONAL INTERVENTION (TBRI) is an evidence-based, trauma-informed intervention designed for caregivers working with children who come from hard places. TBRI is a caregiving model, not a clinical model. The heartbeat of TBRI is a connection; its an intervention with a focus on relationships at its core. Youth who experienced trauma in the context of a relationship can only experience healing through the context of a safe nurturing relationship. The TBRI model has been adopted byOrchard Place as the caregiving model that is utilized to promote healing and resilience for the youth and families that we serve.




May 21, 2019

Volunteers make a difference atOrchard Place! Click below to learn more about how you can make a difference in a child's life.



May 22, 2019

Children with behavioral or mental health issues may be referred to a therapist for a mental health assessment. But just what is an assessment and how is it used? We asked Eliza Lower, who is a supervisor for the school-based counseling program atOrchard Place.



May 23, 2019

Everyone knows that exercise helps improve your mental health. Now the first and most extensive study of its kind confirms it: Riding a bike, inside or out, came a close second to playing team sports as the activity most beneficial for emotional wellness.

The researchers in the study, which was published in the Lancet, analyzed the exercise and mental health of a whopping 1,237,194 adults using three years of survey data where participants reported the type of activity they did, how much they exercised, and how many days they experienced poor mental health in the form of stress, depression, and other emotional trouble.

Of the 75 types of exercise studied, team sports provided the most protection, with people playing soccer and other team sports reporting 23.3 percent fewer days of poor mental health than non-exercisers. But riding a bike, either indoors or outside, was a close second, with riders enjoying 21.6 percent fewer bad mental health days. The third activity on the mental health protection podium was aerobic, or gym exercise (not including running, which was fourth on the list was cycling).

Why not enjoy a great bike ride that benefits Iowa kids? Check out the Orchard Place Moonlight Classic Bike Ride on July 13. All proceeds go to benefit Iowa kids.




May 24, 2019

Parent Question: I'm worried my family is going to be kicked out of our apartment. My youngest child has a severe anxiety disorder, and I'm afraid another change may also mean he will act out again in school and get suspended. Are there resources that can help me find other housing options if this happens and help keep my child in school?

You don't have to be alone in these struggles. Finding community resources like available housing programs is something theOrchard PlaceIntegrated Health Program can help with as well as providing parent support at school meetings.

We know disruptions can impact a child's feeling of stability and safety, and our IHP team can help. They are experts in locating all kinds of community resources to manage life's difficult situations. IHP care teams consist of a care coordinator, family peer support specialist, and nurse care manager.

The team not only helps locate and coordinate resources for your family but our family peer support has the personal knowledge of what it's like to raise a child with a mental health diagnosis and is there to provide support and a listening ear, so you don't feel so alone. Our nurse care manager helps answer medical health questions and can connect with your child's doctor to coordinate any medical or medication concerns.

For more information, you can reach us at 515-256-3450 or email



May 25, 2019

Understanding risk factors and warning signs of suicide can help individuals identify danger before it is too late.

While having risk factors does not always mean suicide will occur, being able to identify these risks before warning signs are displayed can allow parents, caregivers or the individual to recognize the need for help and seek assistance.

If you or a loved one needs help, Orchard Place is here. Our Child Guidance Center offers outpatient therapy services for youth, birth to 18. Families can access these services by calling (515) 244-2267 and asking to speak to our intake specialist. At intake, the therapist will assess the risk of you or your loved one and make a referral to the emergency room for further assessment if needed. If you are unable to keep yourself or your loved one safe, do not wait - go directly to the nearest emergency room.

You can also call The National Hopeline Network at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) or, for the hearing impaired, at 1-800-799-4889 to access help 24/7.



May 26, 2019

Parents raising a child with a mental health diagnosis often express how alone it can feel in their struggle to know what to do and where to turn for help. This is what parents tell us during monthly Parents United Support Group meetings hosted by Orchard Places Integrated Health Program.

At Parents United, parents get to meet other parents who have similar caregiving experiences where they discuss a variety of topics chosen by them. It is led by a licensed mental health therapist with expertise in child attachment. This parenting community helps parents feel less isolated and more connected to other parents going through similar situations. They learn ideas from each other as well as self-care strategies for themselves.

Free childcare is also provided for the children who attend. The children and youth participate in a variety of prosocial activities such as arts and crafts, quiet games, and recreational activities in the gymnasium. Dinner is provided for the parents and children who attend.

Here are a few parent comments shared about Parents United:

- It's nice to meet with others and know that I'm not alone.

- I enjoy hearing new ideas and things to try at home.

- It's reassuring to meet with others who have similar situations and learning about resources.

- I enjoyed hearing about mindfulness and self-care for parents.

- It's a nice break where I can learn from other parents while I know my child is being taken care of by people who understand his behavior.

For more information about the Orchard PlaceIntegrated Health Program, please call 515-256-3450.



May 27, 2019

Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental health disorder in childhood. Often it can look like constant worrying, reoccurring fears, avoiding certain situations, or difficulty concentrating.

However, anxiety in children can also look like angry outbursts, frequent physical complaints (like stomach aches or headaches), difficulty sleeping, trouble sitting still, irritability, or tearfulness.

If you have questions or are looking for help for your child, contactOrchard Placeat 515-244-2267 or email




May 28, 2019


There are free activities and meals available in many communities for kids and teens during the summer, thanks to theU.S. Department of AgricultureFood and Nutrition Service. To find a location call 1-866-348-6479 or test "Summer Meals" to 97779. No cost or enrollment required, open to all children under 18.

How does healthy food benefit kids?

Healthy eating can help children maintain a healthy weight, avoid certain health problems, stabilize their energy, and sharpen their minds. A healthy diet can also have a profound effect on a child's sense of mental and emotional wellbeing, helping to prevent conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and ADHD.

Eating well can support a child's healthy growth and development into adulthood and may even play a role in lowering the risk of suicide in young people. If your child has already been diagnosed with a mental health problem, a healthy diet can help your child to manage the symptoms and regain control of their health.



May 29, 2019

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Five easy ways to advocate for kids and young adults who are dealing with a mental illness.

The facts are clear. Most state and local programs for children's mental health are underfunded or not funded at all.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, approximately one in five children have a diagnosable mental illness. It is also estimated that 75 percent of children with emotional and behavioral disorders do not receive specialty mental health services, despite the ability to diagnose these disorders early.

Here are five simple ways to help improve services for kids who need help:

1. Write a letter or an email to your elected officials and ask that they support legislation or initiatives for children's mental health. In Iowa, finding elected officials is made easy by visiting:

2. Most elected officials schedule a time to meet with constituents. Find out if your elected officials have a town hall, a meet and greet or ask to meet them in person. Face-to-face meetings where you can share your views about the importance of supporting children's mental health can make a difference. Also, ask what your legislator is doing to address this critical issue.

3. Use your phone. Even a 30-second phone call to an elected official can make a difference. On the national level, US Senators and Representatives have staff members available to take calls and convey your concerns and thank them for supporting children's mental health.

4. Share your experience, articles, or facts about children's mental health on your social media pages. You can also look for local organizations who you can follow and reach to ask how you can advocate for them and the vital work that they do.

5. Vote. It is one of the most important ways you can make a difference. And in the process leading up to an election, make sure to ask candidates their plans or views on children's mental health. This can not only inform you but can inform the voting public about candidates' views and proposals on mental health. You can register to vote and learn more

Advocating for children's mental health is critical to help curb the epidemic of mental health issues facing today's kids. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.



May 30, 2019

If a child breaks his or her arm, most people know what to do and where to go for help. But what if the problem is emotional?

Your child isn't sleeping well, or at all, he/she is sad or withdrawn more often than not, your child has excessive worries or fears that interfere with daily activities. Many parents are stumped by these symptoms and sometimes over-look them or hope their child will magically get over them.

The facts are clear. A majority of kids do not get over a mental health issue. Without proper treatment, the mental health condition gets worse or harder to treat.

It is essential to be aware of warning signs that your child may be struggling with a mental health issue. Some of those signs include: drastic changes in behavior or personality, having severe mood swings, displaying a significant change in appetite, and or attempts to harm themselves.

If you notice any of these behaviors in your child, don't overlook them. Talk with your child about how they're feeling, how often they're feeling that way and convey your concern. When talking with your child about your concerns, straightforwardly talk with them at a time when your child feels safe and comfortable. Be sure to listen openly when talking with him/her and let them tell you about their feelings and worries.

If you are still concerned about your child's behaviors, it is vital to get appropriate care. Talk with your child's pediatrician, school nurse, or guidance counselor about the behaviors that are concerning you. Ask your pediatrician for recommendations on further evaluations that may be helpful in getting your child help. In Iowa, Orchard Place serves all 99 counties and helps thousands of children and young adults every year.

If you have questions or are looking for help for your child, contactOrchard Placeat 515-244-2267 or email



 May 31, 2019

During May, Orchard Place has created and posted new social media posts each day.  You may have seen these on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. 

As we end the month, we want to remind everyone to continue to be aware of the mental health issues we are facing.  Approximately 1 in 5 adults in theU.S.(46.6 million) experience mental illness in a given year. About 1 in 25 adults in theU.S.(11.2 million) experiences a severe mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. It is estimated that 1 in 4 children will experience a mental health crisis from the period of birth to 18.


The effects of mental health on society can be described as horrific. They can be seen in our communities, schools, workplaces, and our homes.  But some things can be done.  By focusing on your mental health and advocating for others, real change can be made.

Thank you for taking a look at our social media posts during May.  Thank you for the positive comments, likes, and shares.  Above all, we thank you in recognizing and supporting the work we do at Orchard Place to help more than 8,000 Iowa kids each year who experience mental and behavioral health issues.