Free Mental Health Screenings Being Offered

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- With a national discussion going on in the United States regarding a need for reform in how we talk about, identify, and treat mental illnesses, Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines is offering free educational and screening programs for the community.

"There's still that stigma of, if you have a mental illness, you are weak," said Dr. Sasha Kosravi, medical director of Mercy Behavioral Health. "That it is a state of mind that you can overcome without any help. And that is why people don't seek help sometimes, is because, they feel like it's something that they should be able to conquer or battle on their own, when in fact, it is a biological illness."

The National Alliance on Mental Illness says one-in-four adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year. Thursday is National Depression Screening Day, and local clinics in all 50 states are volunteering their time to offer free mental health screenings for people who may suffer from depression or other mental health issues.

In Des Moines, Mercy Medical Center says a free depression screening is an opportunity to learn more about anxiety and mood disorders, complete a brief screening questionnaire, and speak one-on-one with a mental health professional. In addition, Kosravi says Mercy is working to expand its services to better assist those in the community suffering from mental illness. Since 2008, all Mercy facilities have screened all women giving birth for postpartum depression before they leave the hospital. And kids enrolled in all of Des Moines' public schools receive two mental health screenings per year.

Kosravi says state funding for mental illness is low, but since everyone is asking for more funding in today's economy, local healthcare professionals are looking at ways they can use the funding they already have to improve the system.

"Integrating psychiatry into the primary care is going to be a key component to being able to reach out further into the population and identify those folks that have a stigma going to a psychiatrist but have no problem going to their family doc or their pediatricians," he said.

For anyone interested in a free screening, or for more information, Mercy asks you to call its Behavioral Help Center at 515-271-6111.



  • Skeptical

    “Free Mental Health Screenings” from Mercy who just this past summer CLOSED their Franklin mental health clinic here in Des Moines. Now they are trying to ‘help’ people with free screenings, where are the patients supposed to go? There’s a shortage of licensed mental health professionals in Iowa as it is.

    Now, that would be a real story rather than republishing Mercy’s press release. How about real investigative report and asking Mercy and other providers the hard questions about supporting mental health. Did your reporter actually ask “Dr. Sasha Kosravi, medical director of Mercy Behavioral Health” any questions or just ask for a PR quote?

    • gcrn

      Mercy Mental Health Clinic closed at Franklin because that entire facility, with the exception of their First Step program, moved to Mercy Medical Center downtown.

  • gcrn

    Mercy Mental Health Clinic located at Franklin because it MOVED to Mercy Medical Center downtown…its not closed….it simply moved downtown….

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