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Clogg: How I Found Healing through Technology

Carrie Clogg

It is a trend, right?  If we have a weird pain, rash or symptom we get online, pull up a search engine, type as much as we can think of and see what we find.  In a matter of seconds we have a diagnosis, people’s opinions, a support group and maybe even a book or two to read.  It is fascinating!

This is not exactly what happened when I reached out to the Internet in search of support when I learned my son had bipolar disorder in 2016.  Don’t get me wrong, I could find the definition of the word, stories of adults struggling with the illness and even people who disagreed that children could “catch it” (yes, I am serious).  What I did not find was moms like me.  Moms who were educated, knew a lot about the disease but were desperately seeking a sense of self in the midst of a troubling and frustrating diagnosis.  

What I found online was a community of parents who are desperately struggling.  Imagine your child is ill and you are not able to find or perhaps afford care.  Or, if the symptoms of your child’s illness comes with a stigma that keeps you from party invites, playdates and other social gatherings.  These are all things that can be extremely shocking and debilitating to parents.

There are approximately 80,000 youth in Iowa with Severe Emotional Disorder (SED).

In other words, children who have a mental illness, which causes disability in the school, home, and/or community environments

  • These are not socially maladjusted children
  • They are not bad kids. They are not the result of bad parenting, weakness of will, or character flaws.
  • These children are ill.  They have a brain disorder – some were born with it, and for some it resulted from brain injury or trauma. And just like children with kidney or heart disorders, they urgently need medical care.

Source: NAMI Iowa “What You Need to Know About Iowa’s Children’s Mental Health Crisis”

Iowa currently does not have a system for children’s mental health and ranks 49th in the nation for mental health services.  I ask, in what other categories would we be ok with ranking almost dead last?  

It is time to make mental health a priority in our state and provide help for Iowans, especially our children, that they deserve.  

I started my blog—Gracefully Crazy—in order to help parents like me working tirelessly to create a fulfilling life for themselves and their mentally ill children.  I am blessed many moms have reached out to me with questions, thoughts and even to sit down for a cup of coffee to connect.  

I have found a community through my blog.  We are not alone and together we can live gracefully even with a little crazy!

Carrie Clogg lives in Des Moines with her husband Josh Barlage and children, Sam (10) and Charlie (7).  She is the Director of Philanthropy for Kum & Go, member of the NAMI Iowa Board of Directors and creator of the blog “Gracefully Crazy.”

1 Comment

  • Lyle Krewson
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 1:53 am

    Your example is so important to so many, Carrie.

Comments are closed.

Clogg: How I Found Healing through Technology | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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