“ISSDA proposes establishment of six crisis stabilization centers, kind of like triage centers, in Iowa where individuals who are committed voluntarily or involuntarily or who need immediate mental health or substance abuse services can go to be assessed for the right type of treatment in the correct setting,” says Susan Cameron Daemen, the lobbyist for the Iowa State Sheriffs’ and Deputies’ Association.
She says addressing the “crisis” in Iowa’s mental health care system is the association’s “highest priority” in the 2018 legislative session.
“Currently, individuals who are committed are being placed in the highest-cost level of care: hospitals, jails or prisons,” Cameron Daemen says. “Iowa may have enough acute mental health care beds, but we don’t have the right types of treatment programs in all parts of the state.”
The State Sheriffs’ and Deputies’ Association is calling for more community-based treatment programs as well as more options for Iowans who need in-patient treatment for a mental illness. According to state officials, at least a third of Iowa prison inmates are suffering from a severe mental illness. Cameron Daemen says improving the state’s mental health care system and getting mentally ill Iowans appropriate care before they commit a crime is “less costly to the taxpayers.”