Prompted by last year’s mass shootings, state lawmakers will consider improving availability of mental health services when the Legislature convenes in two weeks.
“I personally have some interest in looking at it, ” said state Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids. “It might be something we need to re-visit.”
The state is already reorganizing the delivery of services for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled, and high-profile incidents across the country over the past year may prompt a response by lawmakers, said Hogg.
One idea is to ease involuntary commitment for psychiatric care when family members are concerned someone may be a threat to themselves or to the public. “The idea that you might strengthen our civil commitments system, there’s no question that’s something I’d like to have my committee address,” said Hogg, who’ll be chairman of the state Senate Judiciary Committee when the Legislature reconvenes Jan. 14.
Hogg has scheduled a public meeting Jan. 11 at noon at Westdale Mall to discuss restoring mental health services lost to budget-cutting over the past several years.
“After Sandy Hook I wanted to make sure we’re doing it,” said Hogg. “The clear opportunity for the Legislature in 2013 is to adequately fund mental health, and make sure we have the services.”
What changes do you think should be made in Iowa’s mental health care system?