Hello Friends! I am happy to report things are going pretty well since my last post reflecting on Sam’s start to middle school. He comes home with not a lot to say, but in this case, I am prone to believe no news is good news! I think the faster pace, changing of classrooms, new teachers and environment are serving him well.
In other news, Sam and I were featured in a Des Moines Register article this week about the state of a mental health system in Iowa for children. The article talks about Sam’s struggles to find assistance and how he is not alone. A 2017 report found that Iowa has 8 specialists per 100,000 children, a lower ratio than in neighboring states, except South Dakota. The report, from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, recommends states have at least 47 psychiatrists for every 100,000 children. I know I have said it time and time again, but we can do better than this!
A new 20 person statewide children’s mental health board, appointed by Governor Reynolds, has been formed to make recommendations for creating a statewide system for children. This gives me hope, however, I know the battle is still uphill. Funding will need to be appropriated and the topic of lack of providers is real.
What can you do? Keep advocating, keep battling the stigma and talk to your elected officials about this very important topic. Iowa is a great state, but its children deserve a mental health system that provides the necessary support, treatment options, and comprehensive care that mentally ill children need. Good luck to the appointed Board and let’s keep charging!