We need more funding for mental health services in Iowa. I’ve run an analysis that finds we could add staff to each hospital for roughly $335,000 a year. Not much, considering the cost of mass murders.
With that money, we could provide help for the entire body rather than just the mind. We have great pharmaceutical drugs, but we need more compassion. We need to emphasize the nursing component of treatment, change the environment, remove the stigma. The process of entering treatment is not scary and should not be changed. There are horror stories about patients not consenting to be treated but those cases indicate a communication problem within the family.
We need no new laws on committal. If there is a problem, the family just asks the patient to have a medical checkup, he goes to his family doctor and he is referred to a specialist. The specialist may refer the patient to the hospital, and if more treatment is needed, the patient may be assigned to the psych ward. Committal can be a gentle.
The system has voluntary commitment and court-ordered commitment. The patient is resistant to court-ordered commitment and outcomes often are not successful. When we look at changes in the mental health system, we need to make it kinder and more trustworthy.
There also is a problem of legislation involving battered children, better treatment for autistic children and more funding for training police in emergency situations.
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