Keynote Speaker Kai Roberts Addresses Story County Residents at Mental Health Expo

Mental Health Expo

Story County residents gathered at the recent Story County Mental Health Expo to listen to keynote speaker Kai Roberts and gain insights into local mental health resources. The event, which showcased 35 organizations, aimed to provide information about their services while addressing the importance of mental health awareness and support.

Kai Roberts, the event’s keynote speaker, delivered a compelling talk titled “Escape: Overcoming Anxiety and Intrusive Thoughts.” During his speech, Roberts shared his personal struggles with anxiety and intrusive thoughts, particularly during his college years.

He candidly discussed the challenges he faced when college life didn’t meet his expectations and how this affected his mental health. Roberts elaborated on the symptoms he experienced and the coping strategies he adopted.

Reflecting on his own journey, Roberts revealed that he initially chose to suppress his emotions, avoiding addressing them. He recounted feeling isolated and emotionally overwhelmed, with no one understanding the turmoil he was going through.

However, Roberts emphasized the importance of seeking help and breaking the mental health stigma. He credited his path to recovery, which began by working with a therapist.

Kai Roberts As The Keynote Speaker At Mental Health Expo

The central message conveyed to expo attendees was “You Are Not Alone.” Roberts underscored that many college students face various challenges, even though they may not realize how common these struggles are. He encouraged students to recognize that seeking support is crucial and that they do not have to face their mental health issues alone.

Roberts highlighted the prevalence of mental illness among college students, stating that 39% of them experience significant mental health challenges during their time on campus. He openly shared that he belonged to this group during his college years.

Among the organizations participating in the expo was Community Support Advocates (CSA), which offers support to individuals dealing with various disabilities, including anxiety, depression, brain injuries, and substance abuse.

Natalie Milbourn, a referral coordinator for CSA, praised the event for its ability to bring together numerous providers and connect them with the local community. She emphasized the importance of such gatherings in reaching out to students at Iowa State University (ISU).

Chris Bertrand, a representative from Central Iowa Psychological Services, stressed the significance of raising awareness about mental health. He highlighted the importance of spreading the word to help as many people as possible access the support they need.

Andrea Hohmann, a therapist at CIPS, addressed the “loneliness epidemic” that has become increasingly prevalent due to our reliance on social media and digital communication. She emphasized the value of face-to-face interactions, stating that nothing can replace the power of genuine, in-person conversations.

The Mental Health Expo provided students with an opportunity to meet face-to-face with representatives from various organizations and gain insights into available mental health resources in their community.

Lauren Case, a sophomore studying event management, attended the event as part of a sociology project, but also expressed a genuine interest in learning more about mental health.

Isabelle Gonzalez, a freshman majoring in design, was motivated to attend the expo by a friend. She expressed her passion for mental health issues and was eager to expand her knowledge on the subject.

The expo concluded with a panel discussion where attendees had the opportunity to submit questions to representatives from the Ames Police Department, Alternative Response for Community Health (ARCH), and Kai Roberts himself.

In summary, the Story County Mental Health Expo served as a valuable platform for raising awareness about mental health, breaking the stigma surrounding it, and connecting community members with essential resources and support.

With the inspiring message “You Are Not Alone,” the event aimed to create a more compassionate and understanding society where individuals receive the help they need when facing mental health challenges.


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  • Keynote Speaker Kai Roberts Addresses Story County Residents at Mental Health Expo