The group tasked with developing recommendations for creating a children’s mental health system in Iowa is hosting a series of meetings starting this week to get public input.
The first meeting is Tuesday in LeMars, followed by eight more meetings throughout the state.
Peggy Huppert is executive director of a mental health advocacy group and sits on the Children’s System State Board. She says personal stories are very important for informing the board’s work.
“We particularly want to hear from parents of children with serious emotional disturbance, as well as older kids or young adults who have been through treatment, have experience with the system or really lack of system in the state of Iowa,” Huppert says.
She says she wants to hear about what treatment options have worked.
“And then, what is not working? What are we missing? What should we be doing more and better of, and what should we just stop doing?”
Huppert says despite past failures by the state to create a mental health system for children, she’s optimistic about the current effort.
“It’s truly pathetic that the state of Iowa does not have a children’s mental health system,” Huppert says. “But the people who are working on it now want to see it change. We want to make a difference. And we need everyone to be involved with making that happen.”
Those who can’t make it to meetings can participate in an online survey or online meeting.