Iowa gets a failing grade from the National Alliance on Mental Illness on an annual mental health care report card. The grade is based on 39 criteria in four main categories. Iowa got a “D” in services and three “F’s” in infrastructure, information access and recovery.

Margaret Stout, executive director of NAMI of Iowa, says the report card is disappointing, but focuses on the need for better funding. “Iowa has not put a lot of effort toward mental health care in the last few years and this report brought that to everyone’s attention,” Stout says. “We were not alone though. There were a number of other states across the nation that also scored poorly.”

The nation overall got a “D” grade, suggesting little progress is being made in addressing resources to support people with mental illness according to Stout. She says progress is being made in Iowa, slowly. “The Department of Human Services has seen the wisdom of restructuring the division of mental health, mental retardation, developmental disabilities and brain injuries into a disability “wing” to where they will have the expertice heading up the division in this area,” Stout says.

This spring, the legislature passed the “Mental Health Redesign Bill” which Governor Vilsack signed into law. It established the new division within DHS and starts the transfer of state cases to the counties and creates a review panel to recommend how the various services should be funded.

The full report card is available on-line at

Related web sites:
National Alliance on Mental Illness