Amy Eckstrom

Amy Eckstrom aims to work in a residential facility for youth with mental illnesses in the future. When she isn't studying, she enjoys adventuring, trying new things, and taking her dog, Joy, on walks and to the dog park. 

Amy Eckstrom converts passion into career, helps children with mental illnesses

Amy Eckstrom always knew she wanted to help people of all age groups, from younger kids to elderly people. When she came to Iowa State University, she decided to major in child, adult, and family services. Now, Amy knows she wants to help children specifically ranging from middle childhood to adolescence.

“I love watching [children and teens] find themselves, find their personalities, find what interests them,” Amy said. “They’ve got a lot going on, and I like that.”

Amy's ultimate goal is to work in a residential facility for youth with mental illnesses. Her interest in the area stemmed from personal, friends', and family members’ experiences with mental illness. She believes having first-hand knowledge makes it easier to recognize how to best help others who deal with mental illness. 

“I’d like to see how [mental illness] translates to children, and how being diagnosed early affects the way that they handle it," Amy said.

Amy hopes that helping children cope with mental illness when they’re in a youth residential facility will lead to better ways of coping as they grow older, rather than if they had been diagnosed later in life. 

Currently, Amy works at a day care; her outgoing personality allows her to connect with the children she works with. This summer, she plans to work at a residential facility for youth with mental illnesses, which she knows will be a different, but important, experience.

“Each of these children [in the facility] have experienced trauma, and they may not have a supportive person in their life,” Amy said. “A big part of my major is forming positive attachments. I’m really looking forward to building those strong attachments with the children.”

While she knows her career will be emotionally challenging, she’s ready to help children in difficult situations and best prepare them for their futures.

“I don’t think that there’s a one-solution-fits-all for any situation,” Amy said. “I believe that people’s experiences affect the way that they heal.”