Iowa is overhauling its mental health service delivery system. While the goal of creating a secure safety net of equitable core services across the state is admirable, the lack of detail around acute care and longer-term stabilization services is troubling. Also frustrating is the lack of support for needs such as transportation, housing and vocational supports.
The immediate crisis is the lack of funding for services during the transition from a county to a regional system. People are being placed on waiting lists for services because our government officials have not come to an agreement on how much money to send. This is where you can make a difference.
Contact your government representatives. Tell them you are watching their efforts to create and fund a comprehensive system of care.
Most important, paint a picture of the humans behind the statistics. Talk to them about the people in your life who struggle with mental health difficulties. Refuse the stigma that keeps the issue of mental health quiet until a tragedy such as Parkersburg or Newtown grabs the headline. Make sure elected officials know that quality mental health treatment works and that recovery is possible.