Mental health services in Iowa continue to change. As the state has mandated a shift from county-based services to that of regions, closing of state mental health institutions, and the need for mental health services continuing to rise, rural partners in our counties are left trying to put better systems in place. County Rural Offices of Social Services (CROSS) was formed through Iowa Code 28E between Clarke, Decatur, Lucas, Monroe, Ringgold, and Wayne counties as required by Iowa Code 331.390.
The region has created and received approval of a management plan designed to improve health, hope, and successful outcomes for adults who reside in these counties who have mental health disabilities and intellectual/developmental disabilities, including those with complex need. As part of the new state requirements, a community health needs assessment was conducted by Iowa State University Extension. Extension conducted surveys and interviews with community partners as well as individuals receiving mental health services. Data will be utilized to help the CROSS governing board meet state requirements regarding access standards, evidence-based practices, and provision of other required services.
Tentative plans include mental health awareness trainings, partnership with Lifelong Links, 24-hour crisis line, tele-psychiatry for interested local hospital emergency rooms and law enforcement centers, and exploration of mid-level treatment more intensive than outpatient but less intensive than inpatient hospital care.
A presentation of ISU Extension findings and the initial strategic planning session will be held on Wednesday, May 20, 2015, in Osceola at the courthouse conference room from 1 pm to 4 pm. Please contact your local CROSS office for more information. (Clarke County: Mary DeLong, 641-414-2968; Decatur County: Kathy Lerma, 641-446-7178; Lucas County: Kathy Egbert, 641-774-0423; Monroe County, Katie Fisher: 641-932-2427; Ringgold County, Becky Fletchall 641-464-0691; or Wayne County, Mendy Middlebrook 641-872-1301.