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Adam T. Hallberg Mental Illness Study Scholarship

2 winners, $500 each
Application Deadline
Dec 9, 2023
Winners Announced
Jan 9, 2024
Education Level
Undergraduate, Graduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
Undergraduate or graduate student
Iowa or Illinois
Volunteer or internship experience in the mental health field
Field of Study:
Mental health services

Adam T. Hallberg was a beloved brother who tragically died by suicide in 2008.

Adam wasn’t able to get the care that he needed in order to effectively treat his mental illness. Sadly, Adam’s experience is a common one, as many people who struggle with their mental health don’t seek help due to the inaccessibility of treatment, the costs of support, and/or the stigmatization of mental illness.

This scholarship aims to honor the memory of Adam T. Hallberg by supporting students who are pursuing higher education in the mental health field.

Any undergraduate or graduate student in Iowa or Illinois who is pursuing an education and career in mental health services and has internship or volunteering experience in the mental health field may apply for this scholarship.

To apply, tell us how your experience with mental health has impacted your beliefs, relationships, and career goals.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Drive, Impact
Published June 17, 2023
Essay Topic

How has your experience with mental health influenced your beliefs, relationships, and career aspirations?

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Alicia Nehring
Drake UniversityNEWTON, IA
I helped a stranger having a mental health crisis land softly in an inpatient hospital, then the next week I faced my own rock bottom reality of addiction and admitted myself to the same hospital. While out on the town one night with friends, there was a young man off alone in the corner of the restaurant who appeared to be in a state of psychosis. His loud muttering of non-coherent sentences carried, and his eyes looked lost. My heart couldn't handle seeing this stranger in this state, meanwhile, everyone else in the place was staring and whispering under their breaths. I decided to approach the young man and see if he was open to receiving any help to de-escalate and stabilize him. I lent a listening ear and ended up helping him eat and drink, then Ubered him to the hospital where I stayed by his side until he was accepted in. I felt relief knowing that I did all I could to help a lost soul to safety, even if it was just for the night. After I made it home a wave of emotion overcame me. A nudging that said I was so far off track from where I needed to be in life, from where I’m supposed to be. A question kept repeating itself over and over in my head, “What are you doing Alicia?” That young man helped me realize my purpose in life- to be a life raft for people when they’re drowning. But first, I needed to save myself before I could save others. The last 5 years I had spiraled and submerged myself in addiction as a way of coping with unprocessed grief of my best friend passing suddenly in a motorcycle accident. I was planning on telling him I had fallen in love with him the week of his passing, but it was too late. Anger, intrusive thoughts, reckless behavior, and suicidal ideation encompassed me and clouded my vision; my drug of choice was dissociation. Exactly one week after helping the young man, my addiction came to an ugly rearing head, and I decided to seek out professional help. I was suffering my own mental health crisis, I was drowning and needed saving. The water gets awfully dark and murky the deeper you go. Now I can see clearly again. My head is above water, and the sun is shining down brightly on the goals I strive to achieve. Through intensive inpatient and outpatient therapy, I learned how to process emotions and how important healthy coping mechanisms are to maintain stability. I took it one day, sometimes one second, at a time and discovered myself during my healing journey and all that I’m capable of. I aspire to become a Licensed Psychologist so I can holistically guide others through crises and help them see through the darkness. I hope to attend a Clinical Psychologist scientist-practitioner program to be able to focus on research simultaneously as I learn best how to promote overall psychological, social, and physical well-being. I am fascinated by the mind’s ability to forget traumatic memories, as I had forgotten my own, and hope to obtain the opportunity to delve deeper into the discovery of new tactics for helping patients with PTSD. We all have potential within us, sometimes all we need is someone to hold our hand and walk beside us and help guide our viewpoint towards the sun above the water. “’Et lux in tenebris lucet,’ – and the light shineth in the darkness.”
Karen Edgington
Chamberlain UniversityNEVADA, IA
I was inspired to become a nurse, from working as a psych tech at an outpatient mental health facility. The nurses were great to work with, they showed compassion, patience, and respect to other professionals. Growing up, I wanted to work in mental health. I honestly never thought I would become a nurse, because my aunts were nurses. After completing a 4yr degree in psychology, I worked outpatient in a Mental Health clinic, and that is where my passion began for nursing. After 2 long years, I became an RN in 2013. I started nursing school 3 weeks post-partum with my 1st child. This was a bit hectic but achievable. I worked for the past 10 years in the hospital as an ER nurse, in a pediatric clinic, and urgent care clinic. I still have a passion for nursing, but now I want to focus on my passion for mental health. I have been through a lot in the past 10 years, and seen a lot of things in the ER that were detrimental to some, but still find the passion to keep learning and growing with my nursing degree. I had 2 more children added to the mix, and the chaos of family and work life continued. I attempted to start my BSN, and have 2 classes left- which I can now bridge to the MSN track. Fast forward to 2023, I am a widow with 3 children. I lost my husband to suicide in 2021. I was going through a very hard time following the death, and attending counseling has inspired me to continue my education in Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner studies. I am attending Chamberlain University while continuing to work full-time and support my family. Having any sort of help will lessen the financial strain on me and my family as I am the sole supporter. My goal as a PMH-NP is to serve children and adults, work with non-profit groups to spread mental health awareness and continue to normalize it. I am a widow and spouse survivor of suicide, the road has not been easy, but I feel like this is my life purpose now to serve others in a way that can help them going through a hard time. This also sets an example to my children, that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Never give up in life, or in the classroom. No one can take away your education. Mental health is such a huge need, that I see a counselor weekly to keep my mental health in check. I want to encourage others to focus on their mental health and awareness. Suicide is a cause that will always hit close to home, and a goal of mine is to work with non-profits and provide care to the less fortunate, and uninsured. I want to give back to the communities in need, especially now, when people are experiencing many mental health problems. Thank you for your consideration of this scholarship. It is an honor to apply.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Dec 9, 2023. Winners will be announced on Jan 9, 2024.

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