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Iowa mom walks over 300 miles across the state to raise awareness for mental health

Iowa mom walks over 300 miles across the state to raise awareness for mental health
Published: Jun. 19, 2022 at 10:54 PM CDT
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SOLON, Iowa (KCRG) - Karen Smith, of Solon, is a mother of two children. Both of her two sons and her husband struggle with forms of anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD and ADHD.

“Some days are harder than others, some weeks are harder than others,” she told TV-9. “And in October we had a rough week.”

That’s when the struggles one of her sons was facing came to a head. So she wanted to do more to help him and other people experiencing the same thing.

“What more can I do to make him feel more comfortable talking about his struggles,” she said.

Soon after, Smith set out on a 300-plus mile walk across the state of Iowa.

She’s following Iowa Highway 18 starting on the bridge over the Big Sioux River and will end in Marquette.

She’s followed, virtually, by over 200 people between her facebook page where she posts updates on her journey, and the gofundme set up for a nonprofit. Smith says any funds donated will go to mental health crisis and awareness organizations such as CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank, I’m Glad You Stayed Project, and This Is My Brave.

“I really think people being able to tell their story will help others gain a better understanding of what it’s really like to live with anxiety and depression just on the day-to-day,” said Smith.

Smith has been joined by several of her friends and family members as they follow closely either by foot or by car, but she says she has done the majority of the trek on her own.

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