Children’s Mental Health

We have a mental health crisis in our schools, homes, communities and medical system. Access to providers is limited, and many providers don’t accept Medicaid. There are limited beds available for in-patient services. The need for mental health services, for both children and adults, is on the rise. We cannot continue to “kick the can down the road”. Iowa’s future depends upon a strong, fully funded, evidence-based mental health system. 

Goal: Establish adequate, sustainable, and predictable funding for the mental health system throughout the lifespan.  

Mental illness can affect persons of any age, race, religion, or income. Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character, or poor upbringing. Mental illnesses are treatable. Most people diagnosed with a serious mental illness can experience relief from their symptoms by actively participating in an individual treatment plan. For the vast majority, recovery is possible. 

Living in a low-income household increases a child’s risk for mental health problems and decreases access to quality mental health services. This is compounded by Iowa’s mental health provider shortage. Eighty-eight counties in Iowa are designated mental health care shortage areas (IDPH). The number of providers who accept Medicaid is even lower. 

We support the following enhancements to the mental health system: 

  • Training and support for those working with children or adults, so that they have the skills needed to identify symptoms and the resources to intervene when mental health services are necessary.  
  • Ensure that Medicaid covers every piece of the mental health service array, from counseling to prescriptions to hospitalization. New services must be incorporated where there are gaps in either the child or adult system. 
  • Sufficient funding to implement the recommendations of the Children’s Behavioral Health System State Board. 

We encourage you to ask your legislator to support adequate, equitable, and sustainable funding for mental health services for both children and adults. 

Find Your Legislator