A Walk Across Iowa on the Old Lincoln Highway: Day #4
Greetings! For the second day in a row, I had a person come from a distance just to walk with me on the LH. A friend and former colleague of 14 years, Dr. Doug Steenblock is a psychiatrist and the director of mental health at the Iowa Veterans Home (IVH). He joined me along a 12-mile portion of the original Lincoln Way that is now U.S. 30, a four-lane divided highway with the vehicles going by around 65 mph. It was a little noisy, but we were able to catch up with each other’s lives, families, work… life!
And we also had the opportunity to talk about men and mental health! Women are much more likely than men to seek mental health counseling treatment—including at our Center (60% female; 40% male); however, males are much more likely to commit suicide (four times more likely to complete a suicide than females even though females make more attempts). Doug now primarily works with male veterans, though there are a few female veterans and spouses of male veterans at IVH.
Though we want to be careful to not stereotype all men, it does seem safe to say that men appear to be socialized in ways that has them less likely to reach out for help when they are in emotional distress—perhaps they believe it is a sign of weakness (among many other possible reasons). Unfortunately, they try to cope with their emotional pain in ways that many times complicate their problems—disrupting their relationships, substance abuse and addition, etc. Over six million men in the U.S. suffer from depression with, perhaps, half of these going undiagnosed. It is difficult to imagine that women face and experience more emotional angst in life—men are just equally involved with the human condition that results in the broad range of loss, grief, sadness, fear, emotional pain, etc.
As part of this Walk, I want to raise awareness that men need mental health treatment and counseling support in equal measure with women; and raising donations for our Counseling Assistance Fund for men and boys is one way to back up that awareness. Thank you for any such support you can give!
Did you know that Rev. Frank Brainard of Salt Lake City, preached the following from his pulpit on Sunday, October 19: “It is a name to conjure with. It calls to the heroic. It enrolls a mighty panorama of fields and woodlands: of humble cabins and triumphant farm homes and cattle on a thousand hills: burrowing mines and smoking factories: winding brooks, commerce-laden rivers and horizon-lost oceans. And because it binds together all these wonders and sweeps forward till it touches the end of the earth and the beginning of the sea, it is to be named The Lincoln Highway!”
Today I met an officer of the Iowa Highway Patrol—he stopped, as Karla was sending me westward, to check on our stopped car by the side of the road. I simply said that I was walking across the state on the Old Lincoln Highway; and he responded, “Oh, you’re that guy!” (I wish that I had asked for his name.) I was just leaving Cedar Rapids and getting ready to go through that huge interchange where Old Lincoln Way (16th Avenue S.W.) meets U.S. 30 and U.S. 218 on the west side of the city. In fact, I walked against the exiting approaching traffic for about one mile… but had the opportunity to ask the officer if that would be the right way to do it… and he assured me it was. I assured him that I was trying to be safe for drivers as well as myself. He was so gracious and helpful… seemed to get a kick out of my journey. He told me I was doing great! What an enjoyable moment!
Today I learned something about the value of compression socks. (Thanks Andrew!)
Today I am grateful for the many people in my life who love me! What an awesome privilege it is to be loved by others! Taking this walk—across 349 miles of the state—reminds me how small I am amidst a large world. And, just think, our state is part of this great nation and our earth is such a little part of this solar system, our Milky Way Galaxy (the next closest star is Proxima Centauri about 4.22 light years away), and the entire universe (the next closest galaxy is Andromeda about 2.5 million light years away with 300 billion galaxies in the observable universe). So… I leave you this from Carl Sagan: “For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.”
P.S. Today’s marble was tossed into a ditch upon arrival in Benton County… I was so grateful that I had entered my fourth Iowa county. I will be in Tama County by tomorrow evening! Today the wind was fairly strong—mainly from the south, southeast… but I need to express gratitude that, for the first four days of this journey, the wind was almost always at my back—directly from the east (quite unusual when the prevailing winds are generally from the west or NW or SW).
For more information and more posts, please see Mark’s homepage: dmpcc.org/WalkwithMark
Everyone is invited to “Walk with Mark” by helping him reach his goal to support quality mental health services for boys and men. Supporting his 331-mile trek is easy as 1-2-3:
- Walk with Mark via his blog on the Center’s website or Facebook page.
- Walk with Mark by joining him for part of his itinerary.
- Walk with Mark with a donation to the Center for the counseling assistance fund.