From Rep. John Wills’ newsletter:

During the campaign season, one of the top issues that came up while knocking doors was mental health. House Republicans were thanked for last year’s focus on adult mental health while also encouraged to take action on children’s mental health next.

Last session’s landmark legislation was meant to fill many of the gaps in Iowa’s adult mental health system. Republicans and Democrats worked together closely, along with mental health professionals and advocates, to craft a bill that ensures that when a loved one is facing a crisis, they have a place to go.

Acting on recommendations from mental health providers, advocates, and parents, the House passed legislation this week that develops the framework for a community-based mental health system specifically designed for Iowa’s kids. The bill focuses on building the infrastructure necessary by bringing together mental health professionals, parents, and advocates, as well as educators and other representatives from Iowa’s K-12 system.

The bill also ensures that parents can easily seek help when their child needs mental health support. Each mental health region will have a local care coordinator dedicated to assisting parents to connect with providers near their community to find treatment for a child with a mental health issue. A statewide 24-hour crisis line will also now be available to assist with finding mental health treatment options for both children and adults.

House Republicans are not only addressing children’s mental health through policy this session, but we are also making mental health a priority in the state budget as well. House Republican have included resources in our budget plan to help train rural mental health providers and train teachers to identify the signs of mental health issues in their students.

House Republicans will continue to seek solutions that ensure greater access to mental health treatment no matter what age.