Department consultant honored for work in student mental health
Barb Anderson, a consultant with the Iowa Department of Education, was honored today at the Please Pass the Love’s 10th Midwest Mental Health Conference for her work in student mental health.
Anderson received the nonprofit’s School Mental Health Award of Excellence.
Anderson, who has been with the Department for nearly 14 years, was honored for her years of broad work in student mental health, said Jennifer Ulie-Wells, executive director of Please Pass the Love.
"Barb has spent decades advocating for the social, emotional, and mental health of students,” she said. “She has a legacy of tremendous change that has gone far unrecognized and noticed. She has brilliant expertise for all things school mental health including social-emotional learning, trauma, suicide prevention, bully prevention, and so much more. Her work has undoubtedly changed and saved the lives of countless students. We owe her endless gratitude for her tireless work and advocacy."
Anderson is admired by her colleagues throughout the Department.
“Barb is so deserving of this award,” said Kathy Bertsch, an administrative consultant at the Department. “She has so much compassion for people, is a caring co-worker and brings a wealth of knowledge around mental health to students, families and schools.”
Kay Augustine, a consultant with the Department, nominated Anderson.
“Barb is known for her collaborative spirit and humbleness,” Augustine wrote in the nomination. She looks for partnerships and opportunities to hold up the work of others to more efficiently and effectively meet the need. Barb will always note that she does none of this alone, yet she gracefully provides her support and encouragement to all those around her.
“The work at the state level in Iowa to broadly coordinate and collaborate to bring awareness and support to those needing support for their mental health needs is a daunting effort. We are truly fortunate to have Barb Anderson as a key stakeholder and leader in these efforts."
Please Pass the Love is an Iowa-based nonprofit committed to increasing school mental health supports to improve the quality of life and educational opportunities for children, families, and educators as well as offer culturally responsive comprehensive services and evidence-based supports to school systems. That is done through bridging positive relationships between the educational and mental health communities to more effectively prevent and address mental health issues for children and adolescents throughout the state of Iowa.