My hope in the coming decade is for Iowa to continue its progress in building out badly needed mental-healthcare services for children and adults. We pride ourselves in being a thoughtful, caring state, so let’s take the proven steps that will give the youngest among us the best chance at a strong foundation for a healthy life.
This is a subject I understand too well. My family’s life was irreparably changed by my 18-year-old son’s suicide two years ago, and his journey was made harder because we couldn’t find the mental-health treatment he needed in Iowa.
By choosing to build a children’s mental health system, we will actively demonstrate our understanding that we all need our physical and mental health to truly be well.
To support that, Iowa needs an effective continuum of behavioral health care so those who need help can transition from the children’s side to the adult side as they mature. Family-centered services are crucial for children, as are prevention and early intervention.
As a state, our core values are rooted in how we care for each other. It’s my hope we’ll put that into action by developing mental-health services with world-class care and expertise for our kids.
Mary Neubauer is a member of the Children’s Behavioral Health System State Board.