Brain Health Now’s goal is to decrease the stigma of mental illness by inspiring the public to use different words that don’t suggest a character flaw or personal weakness.

Brain Health Now℠ is a grassroots organization dedicated to ending the stigma surrounding the term “mental illness”. Each year, over 50 million Americans have diagnosable brain health disorders. These disorders remain shrouded in misunderstanding and stigma, which is one reason why Brain Health Now is reframing the conversation away from “mental illness” and toward “brain health”. Brain health issues and disorders have biological and neurological basis and often can be successfully treated.

Brain Health Now supports their mission by working with schools, nationwide, to create places where high school students and staff can feel comfortable and safe. They call these spaces Brain Health Retreat Rooms. These rooms provide a place where thoughts and problems are accepted without judgement and with encouragement to learn new self-regulating techniques. When deciding how to furnish the Retreat Rooms, Brain Health Now worked with Lerdahl, a Kimball International Select Dealer, choosing Kimball International’s family of brands for durable and flexible product solutions.

Hempstead High School in Iowa utilized a variety of Kimball International products to ensure the space encourages peaceful thoughts and reflection.

QT lounge by Poppin provides privacy for individuals to relax. Bernadette poufs by Etc. rest nearby for occupants to relax and kick up their feet. The Clarette lounge pieces by Etc. allow students to interact with one another and realize they’re not alone, while Vernita planters by Etc. create opportunities to incorporate calming biophilia. Table surfaces are equipped with various therapeutic items including journals, books, and calming sensory objects.

By integrating the comfort of home into a school setting, the Brain Health Now spaces create a welcoming and peaceful environment that students can connect with. The team is fully aware that not all students may have this type of space in their homes, so the environment is purposefully designed to make them feel safe and calm.

The nature-inspired color palette and warm lighting throughout the space create an inviting environment for teens, removing the traditional look and feel of institutional spaces. Woodgrains, sunrise imagery, affirming wall graphics, and retrofitted lightbulbs connect students and staff to the calming outdoors and create a sense of well-being. Students can utilize the space to find peace and also speak with on-site counselors called Brain Health Retreat Room Liaisons.

“We created the Brain Health Retreat Room as a place where the Hempstead community can feel comfortable and safe, where their feelings, thoughts, and problems are accepted. My family’s personal story with brain health led me to dedicate my life to ending the stigma around mental illness and providing resources for those dealing with brain health issues. It’s time to end the stigma associated with mental illness.”