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What a Children's Mental Health System Could Mean for Families in Iowa

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Mary Neubauer and her husband tried to find their way through Iowa's mental health system for years, seeking help and support for their son Sergei, who died by suicide at the age of 18 in 2017. 

"Truly a labyrinth." That's how Neubauer, now an advocate, describes mental health services in Iowa.

Now, bills aimed at expanding services for children and making the system easier to navigate are making their way through the Iowa House and Senate

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer and IPR Statehouse Reporter Katarina Sostaric discuss the ins and outs of the proposed bills, and hear from Iowans hoping for better mental health services for the state's young people. 

Guests on this episode include:

  • Senator Liz Mathis, a Democrat from Robins representing Iowa Senate District 34
  • Representative Shannon Lundgren, a Republican from Peosta representing Iowa House District 57
  • Mental health advocate Mary Neubauer
  • Jeff Herzberg, Chief Administrator of Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency and part-time superintendent at Gilmore City/Bradgate Schools

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Katelyn Harrop is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River