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Mental health support offered to Winterset community following tornado anniversary

The crisis debrief session was hosted by Crossroads Behavioral Health Services.

WINTERSET, Iowa — Just over one year ago, Winterset lost six residents in an EF-4 tornado that struck the town.

And even though some like to say that "time heals all wounds," those sorts of anniversaries can still dig up some unpleasant feelings.

"Those strong emotions, those strong memories, we tend to put in those little boxes as we go along, and so sometimes it gets really difficult for people around those times because that box is opened whether we want it or not," said Mick Collias, a Clinical Team Lead with Crossroads Behavioral Health Services.

That's why officials with Crossroads offered free mental healthcare during a crisis debrief session held at the Madison County annex on Monday, allowing community members to continue on their path to recovering from a traumatic event.

It's no secret that stigma around mental health issues can be a pretty big obstacle in getting people to seek help for those issues. But providers say those same obstacles can actually be even bigger in rural communities such as Winterset.

"It's difficult to break down that idea that 'I can't do this by myself, I can't help myself with us. And so I need help.' And sometimes, for some folks, that's seen as tough," Collias added.

But offering that help to someone else can be difficult, too. Collias says simply reaching out and offering to hear what's on someone's mind can be a great place to start.

"One of the best resources we have for getting people help is the people who talk to those who are hurting, right? If you think someone is hurting, if you think someone is struggling, if you think someone is not doing so well, take that time to listen to them," he said.

If you or someone you know is in need of help, you can get free, confidential mental health support from Your Life Iowa by calling 855-581-8111.

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