Amid Closings & Privatization, Iowa Ranked 50th For State Psychiatric Beds

National Alliance on Mental Illness in Iowa Executive Director Peggy Huppert joins Des Moines FM Podcast host Chance Dorland to discuss Iowa’s shrinking number of state psychiatric beds & the effects we’re seeing take place in mental health services. A new Treatment Advocacy Center report shows that while Kansas, Missouri and South Dakota each have about 15 beds per 100,000 residents (with the national average around 12), Iowa has only 64 beds, or roughly two per 100,000 residents, which is down from 149 total beds just a few years ago.

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 Interview answers, both in written & audio form, have been edited for length & clarity.

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  1. We can thank our Governor for closing down the mental health beds/institutes. This is horrible, some people need continuous housing for their mental health issues. Outpatient is great, but when you have adults or children with severe issues they are just being thrown back out into the population…this is scary!

  2. Untreated mental illness leads to suicide, substance abuse, and long-term medical issues.
    My family has first-hand knowledge of the lack of shared information between mental health treatment centers, hospital Emergency Rooms, law enforcement offices, and family care-givers.
    We lost our son, my other children lost their sibling, and his daughters lost their father, due to his untreated mental illness. The state of Iowa has a shortage of beds; holds a patient for 48 hours, and then releases them, with no contact to their family, even if they are delusional.
    If the patient is a substance abuser, offender in the criminal justice system, and violates probation, the county jail, and ultimately the state prison, does not allow the patient to continue with prescribed medication. The jail does not allow any medicine such as anti-depressant, or psychiatric. The state prison requires each inmate to receive the same medicines, without proper individual assessment.
    How can this be???
    Would they treat a patient at risk for stroke or heart attack with such disdain? If private treatment centers are able to pick and choose to whom they wish to provide care, then the state and counties MUST NOT FAIL in stepping up to advocate and provide quality/affordable/accessible/individualized medical treatment and/or therapy for these persons who are suffering from brain illnesses.
    Furthermore, Iowa, and all states, MUST design a comprehensive system of sharing information to treatment centers, law-enforcement, as well as care-givers, in order to save the lives of precious family members who are not, at times, able to make life-saving decisions for themselves.

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