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Exhibition "Mental Health: Mind Matters" is Set to Tour at the Science Center of Iowa

Mental Health: Mind Matters

February 13, 2019

One in five Americans live with mental illnesses. That’s one in five of your friends, one in five of your family or one in five of your coworkers. Or maybe it’s you.

Yet mental health is a topic we struggle to talk about.

 Breaking Stigmas

In order to break down that stigma, we need to have a safe space to learn about mental illness and to talk about its impact on our communities. That’s the goal of the Science Center of Iowa’s latest traveling exhibition, Mental Health: Mind Matters. The exhibition was created in Finland at Heureka, The Finnish Science Centre, and was adapted for American audiences by the Science Museum of Minnesota. Des Moines is the first stop on its U.S. tour.

In the exhibit, audiences will have the opportunity to see how mental illness has been treated throughout history and to better understand what it’s like to live with mental illnesses like as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Empathy-building experiences allow visitors to:

  • Don noise distorting headphones to experience the difficulties some people with symptoms of psychosis experience if they are unable to filter out some of the sounds that surround them.
  • Enter the living room of a man with depression and hear his inner dialogue, along with the perspectives of his close family members.
  • Play an emotion-recognition game that invites them to act out an emotion using only facial expressions. (They’ll discover it’s a challenging task, and it’s even more challenging for other visitors to interpret!)

Mental Health: Mind Matters at SCI

There’s also a resource center, which gives people “tips for talking” about mental illness and provides resources for those looking to better their own mental health or support friends and family who may be struggling.

The exhibit, though, is just the launching point.

The Science Center of Iowa, in partnership with Capital Crossroads and a long list of community partners, will host a series of events designed to create awareness about and inspire action around mental illness in the community. Events will focus on topics from mental health in schools to mental health in the workplace and from early childhood brain development to supporting the mental health of aging populations.

Another campaign, spearheaded by HealthPartners, the local presenting sponsor of the Mind Matters exhibit, will seek to reduce the stigma and “Make It OK” to talk about mental illness. The campaign, which started in Minnesota, seeks to “spread the word, stop the silence and Make It OK.”

Mental health is part of our overall health. And mental illness is just like physical illness – it’s common, it can happen to anyone, and it’s treatable.

Mental Health: Mind Matters will be on exhibition in Des Moines through April 28, but it is our sincere hope that the conversation around mental health in our community continues long into the future.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is a proud supporter of the Science Center of Iowa and the Mental Health: Mind Matter exhibit. To learn more, visit Downtown Des Moines (DSM) attractions and events.

Emilee Richardson

Emilee Richardson is the director of marketing and public relations at the Science Center of Iowa. She has worked in nonprofit public relations and marketing since 2009. Emilee is passionate not only about marketing, but also about spreading a love of learning, which makes SCI a natural fit.