WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Mental Health

Boomer wanders the halls at Immaculate Conception School in Morris wearing a red vest that reads “therapy dog in training.” He’s a Great Pyrenees. So even at just a year old, he already clocks in at over 100 pounds and sits nose-to-nose with kindergartners.

Boomer’s owner, school principal Stacey Swanson, said during the pandemic they needed other ways to help students starting to return in-person.

Gun-related suicides among young people in Missouri rose sharply after legislators relaxed state gun laws, based on a new report from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Missouri has had one of the highest rates of gun deaths in the U.S. for the past decade, many of which are suicides among teenagers and young adults.

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This is Mental Health Awareness week. This year's events have created a lot of uncertainty across the world and most people are looking for a relief. A northern Illinois monk offers meditation as a remedy.

Whether it’s the global pandemic or social unrest, nearly everyone has experienced some trauma in 2020.

It’s hard to grasp the long-term mental health implications of COVID-19. But many Americans have already seen their mental health suffer during the pandemic.

What started as a class assignment ended in national recognition for several Ft. Madison High School students.  They received an Honorable Mention in the NPR Student Podcast Challenge.

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Studies have found the rates of mental illness and suicide are higher for farmers. The profession requires long hours, limited social contact, and is often at the mercy of external factors such as weather and market rates.

Illinois police officers who want to seek mental health care can now do so without jeopardizing their jobs.

It’s a challenge for people with severe mental illnesses to hold down a job or get the medical help they need. And that extends to when they try to alleviate hunger by getting on the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

T.J. Carson

Knox County is asking voters to create a new tax to help pay for local mental health care services.

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Law enforcement agents and mental health care advocates from Lee and Des Moines Counties worked together to create a jail diversion program a couple years ago. The program, which attempts to help inmates avoid returning to jail, is already expanding in southeast Iowa.

  Illinois Department of Corrections officials say they still do not know when they will have enough beds to care for prisoners with mental illnesses.

The prison system has been in a legal battle over mental health care since 2007.

Late last year the state submitted a remedial plan to a federal judge, but prisoners suing say the department isn’t following it.

In a new court filing, the state says it still doesn’t know when all 12 hundred beds required will be added.

State Senator Rich Taylor (D-Mount Pleasant) said he could not believe what he was hearing when Iowa Governor Terry Branstad spoke to lawmakers about his proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Residents who live along a gravel road in Lee County are again calling for the Board of Supervisors to improve it.

There could soon be a mental health care network operating in the southeast corner of Iowa.

Lee County believes it has come up with a way to address an issue that popped up during the county's most recent audit.

Six counties in southeast Iowa are waiting on the state to sign off on their plan to work together on mental health care services.

Upcoming changes to Iowa’s mental health system may not impact Lee County in the short term.

The state will start covering the cost of Medicaid-endorsed services in July.  That means there will be no more reimbursements for counties, which will drastically shrink budgets for mental health and other developmental disabilities.

What is left in the budgets will be primarily used to pay for services not covered by Medicaid.

Ryanne Wood oversees Lee County’s MHDD department.  She says that is why efforts are underway to shift county-funded clients to Medicaid.

The decision by the Iowa Legislature to revamp the state’s mental health care system has counties struggling to determine their role in the new landscape.

The state will pay for Medicaid-related services, which means counties will receive less in reimbursements.

In response, Des Moines County established waiting lists for a wide variety of services. 

CPC Administrator Ken Hyndman says the idea was to reduce spending in case the county’s budget runs short without certain state reimbursements.

Jason Parrott’s guest is Ryanne Wood, who is Lee County’s CPC Administrator.  They talk about mental health care reform and what is being proposed in Des Moines by the Iowa Legislature.

Lawmakers are running out of time during the spring session and there is still plenty of work to do in the area of services for those with mental health or other developmental disabilities.

Some of the more common services include one-on-one sessions, drop-in centers or sheltred workshops.