Mental health should be a top priority for Iowa legislators in the 2021 session. The first step is to educate the public about the huge toll that untreated mental illness takes on individuals, families, communities and our state.
Resources which have demonstrated positive outcomes need to be maintained, such as the Affordable Care Act, crisis hot lines, community-based regional access centers and peer and school counseling. These are critical in preventing high-risk populations from costly and ineffective use of emergency rooms and jail or prison.
Treatment options need to be strengthened by expanding broadband to the whole state so that teletherapy can be utilized in the pandemic and beyond. Ensure adequate reimbursement rates from insurance companies. Workforce development and non-privatized Medicaid should be used to manage treatment of Iowans with mental health issues and developmental disabilities.
Increase availability of treatments which are more effective than systems such as law enforcement and the judiciary.
Our state will be made safer by identifying and treating those who are a danger to themselves or others and if necessary taking away access to firearms. The Iowa Constitution should protect the right of felons to receive mental health services during correctional supervision.
Let your state senators and representatives know that you are in favor of legislation that maintains and improves the mental health of all Iowans.
Helane Golden and Diana Siguenza