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2022 Iowa School Mental Health Awardees Announced


The Scanlan Center for School Mental Health, the state’s hub for school-based mental health research, professional development, and clinical services, announced three winners of the 2022 Iowa School Mental Health Awards at the Iowa (Behavioral, Equitable, Social-Emotional, Trauma-Informed Health in Schools) Summit.

The awards program recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to cultivating a positive mental health culture within an Iowa PreK-12 school, district, college/university, or community organization. 

“Today we celebrate three individuals who embody courage, community, and commitment to a better future for Iowa’s students and educators,” said Allison Bruhn, executive director for the Scanlan Center for School Mental Health. “Our honorees represent what’s possible if we all prioritize mental health and well-being in our schools. Their innovation and relentless pursuit of meaningful change are what school mental health champions are made of.” 

The awardees are: 

Iowa School Mental Health Hero

Sue Gehling, founder and owner of Classroom Clinic (Carroll, Iowa) 

The Iowa School Mental Health Hero award honors a practitioner, researcher, educator, or community partner for their defining contribution to school mental health in Iowa. 

After more than 20 years as a family nurse practitioner and psychiatric nurse practitioner, Sue Gehling, ARNP, MSN founded Classroom Clinic in 2019. Classroom Clinic provides rural school districts with timely and convenient access to children’s mental health services through the use of telehealth and related technologies.

Over the last three years, Classroom Clinic has worked with seven schools and provided mental health care services to 250 students. Her vision is to improve children’s access to mental health care in rural Iowa by utilizing technology and integrating services into nontraditional places. She has been a champion of establishing cross-sector partnerships with educators, and a leader within the school-based telehealth movement here in Iowa.  

Gehling earned a Master’s in Nursing from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and a bachelor’s in Nursing from Briar Cliff University. 

Sue Gehling accepting 2022 Iowa School Mental Health award from Allison Bruhn

School Wellness Warrior

Laura Greiner, psychologist at the Boys State Training School (Eldora, Iowa)

Laura Greiner, psychologist at the State Training School in Eldora, Iowa, helps design and implement the Intensive Therapeutic Program for students who experience significant distress or functional impairment and provides individual, family, and group therapy.

Greiner facilitates Mental Health 101, Suicide Prevention and Intervention, and Intensive Therapeutic Program trainings for all staff on campus, runs Grief Therapy groups, 10-week programs intended for adolescents who have experienced the death of someone special to them, and has led Trauma Group therapy, which utilizes Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Trauma-Informed Yoga. 

Greiner earned a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from Upper Iowa University and a bachelor’s in Mortuary Science from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science.

The School Wellness Warrior award honors an individual for their outstanding efforts around overall school wellness. The recipient of this award has been instrumental in furthering a school, district, or institution’s employee wellness initiatives; helping teachers, faculty, or staff reach a heightened level of well-being (e.g., physical, mental, spiritual, behavioral). 

Laura Greiner with 2022 School Wellness Warrior Award

Mental Health Influencer of the Year Student Award

Abbey Schley, founder and president of the I’m Glad You Stayed Project (Iowa City, Iowa) 

Abbey Schley, president of the I’m Glad You Stayed Project, founded the nonprofit after losing her friend Dylan Salge to suicide in March 2021. Schley was a senior at West High School in Iowa City, Iowa when the I’m Glad You Stayed Project became a federally recognized 501c3 non-profit.

Since its inception, the organization has reached 31 states and seven countries and distributed more than 36,000 bracelets and 18,000 pamphlets designed to give teenagers the resources needed to help a friend in crisis.

Schley currently attends New York Film Academy, majoring in Acting for Film. 

The Mental Health Influencer of the Year Student Award tributes a visionary youth leader who lends their voice and talents to advancing mental health awareness and initiatives. This student’s efforts have influenced decision-makers or policymakers to expand mental health supports within their school, district, region, or state. To qualify for this award, a nominee had to be enrolled in one of Iowa’s PreK-12 schools during the 2021-22 school year.

This is the inaugural Iowa School Mental Health Awards celebration.