Organizations looking to "erase the stigma" during World Mental Health Day

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The National Alliance on Mental Health says 1 in 5 adults will experience some kind of mental illness in their lifetime.

Thursday is World Mental Health Day, and organizations want people to know about services available in eastern Iowa.

Tammy Richards spoke to TV9 about her battles with mental illness. She’s been in recovery for three years and wants to share her story to help erase the stigma behind mental health.

“I was starting to hear voices,” she said. “They were starting to get stronger and meaner."

Those voices told Richards to harm herself. It got so bad that she quit her job, and was told she would never work again.

She's been getting help through AbbeHealth's FERST program, which stands for First Episode Recovery Support Team. It's a newer program that used team-based treatment.

Richards now works for AbbeHealth in Cedar Rapids, providing peer support for those seeking help.

"Keep strong and recovery is close,” Richards said. “It's just around the corner. Even if you don't feel like you can recover, anyone can recover. If I can go through it, anyone can.”

Workers at AbbeHealth say mental health treatment has evolved over the years. It's now more person-centered.

“Twenty years ago, when somebody came into our services, they would let us know what they were struggling with and we would tell them you need to do this, this, and this," said Carmen Johnson, with the Transitional Living Program at AbbeHealth. “Now when they come to our services we talk to them about what recovery looks like to them and what it means to them. "

This year marks 70 years for UnityPoint Health- AbbeHealth Services. They wanted to celebrate the anniversary by letting people know about services in the community.

Psychiatric Associates in North Liberty located at 1290 Jordan Street is offering free depression screenings Thursday. Appointments are not needed.