Saturday, August 25, 2018

Mental Illness Navigators


We do have Mental Illness Navigators for our area. It has taken me over a year to find this out but they may not have been in operation when I first asked. What I did first was look on the internet for Mental Health navigators. If you do. search you will find them in various locations.

My introduction to navigators came when I needed an oncology navigation and found one at Genesis West in Davenport. She, a nurse, was most helpful in guiding my wife and I through the maze of doctors, appointments, treatments, tests, and side effects the last year of Bobbie's life. She helped us know what was happening to insure smooth transitions between appointments and outcomes.

Now I find the Mental Health Crisis Center located in the Davenport County Health office building provides navigator services. The main hurdle comes from not publicizing themselves with that language. I hope that changes. That brings up the whole topic of communication and collaboration.

At the last meeting of the Mental Health Board in August I gave a short background to what I have experienced this last year with two adult children now in long term mental illness treatment centers. One is at Bellevue Iowa and the other is at Dubuque. When I suggested the need for navigators one person said we have them and he gave the name of the person in charge of the crisis center. That was a note I wrote down as another location as I connect the dots for mental health care. Later this person and I had coffee to talk evermore about the current situation with professional caregivers.

A week laster I went to the first person I had contact with at the crisis center. She drew a diagram of how they services connect and who does what. I then knew that six months was the usual time for people to be in a long term facility before release to another agency in the system.

That is where I am at present. I will continue to wait out the six months until one of my family is moved to another dot in the system. Residential homes are in high demand. That would be the next step for both and in the meantime Social Security disability become a primary need. Both have started the process, been rejected, and continue to proceed.

Stay tuned, the story is open ended, and navigators are now tracking the journey.


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