Saturday, August 18, 2018

A Letter to the Editor, August 18, 2018

This letter appeared in the Quad-City Times on the Opinion page. I also have the opportunity to write a longer article for the RiverCity Reader.

Mental Health Care is Inadequate

I have been over my head in family mental health issues this past year. I gained a frontline view.

Iowa legislature moved forward with the Eastern Iowa Region Crisis Center. The people at the center were helpful. But ultimately, Iowa continues to go backwards:

Reduced the budgets of the judicial system and the Department of Corrections two years in a row when 40% of the inmates in the Scott County Jail have mental health problems.  

Removed the court from the hearing decision after a 72 hour committal. Because of the new rule on July 1, the hearing never happened, no judge was present, and I wasn’t even present. They sent the patient home in a taxi. The result: We had to go through the committal process all over again.

State officials refused to address the shortage of long term beds for the mentally ill. According to the NAMI of Iowa (National Association of Mental Illness) “ … in 2016, Iowa ranked last of all states in terms of psychiatric bed availability, with only 1.2 beds per 100,000 adults: this is a far cry from the national average of about 12 beds per 100,000 adults.”

And locally, an advisory group for Genesis Hospital was recently disbanded.

I invite all to make a difference: increase your awareness and become informed.

Three cheers for Mr. Hubbel who is running for Governor. He has a comprehensive plan. He had a person call to record my story.

Marlin Whitmer, retired hospital chaplain

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