Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

November 8, 2013

Iowa developed regions for county mental health

Submitted by Diane Buss LBSW
Appanoose County Community Service Coordinator

---- — The state of Iowa has moved towards developing regions for county mental health to be fully implemented by July 1, 2014. Appanoose County Mental Health Community Services has joined the South Central Behavioral Health Region along with Davis and Wapello counties.

The region has a Governance Board comprised of one Board of Supervisor from each of the three counties. Jennifer Vitko is the part-time region executive officer and Wapello County Community Services coordinator and Diane Buss is the Appanoose and Davis County Mental Health Community Service coordinator for the region.

Regions are designed to help streamline and improve access to area mental health providers, identify gaps in services offered, and to develop new services as needed throughout the SCBHR region that are cost effective and outcome based.

Individuals that are experiencing mental health or dual diagnosis (mental and substance abuse problems) can apply for county mental health funding by completing a Community Services Coordinator application. Applicants approved for mental health county funding have no insurance, fall within Department of Human Service poverty guidelines and have residency in the county they are applying in.

There are two new programs in Appanoose County; Emergency Mental Health Pre-Screenings and Work Activity Community Opportunity Program. Centerville Community Betterment, Inc., Community Health Centers of Southern Iowa, Paula Gordy, LISW, LLC and River Hills Community Health Center-Appanoose County Clinic are contracted to provide 24/7 Emergency Mental Health Pre-Screenings. Family members and loved ones now have a choice besides filing committal papers at the clerk of court.

Licensed mental health professionals will evaluate, identify support services and make referrals so the individual experiencing emergency mental health/dual diagnosis problems can remain safely in the community if inpatient is not determinate appropriate.

New Focus is providing Work Activity Community Opportunity where individuals with a mental illness diagnosis that are unemployed and qualify for Appanoose Mental Health Community Services funding are placed in a work activity. Participants receive minimum wage working at jobs appropriate for their disability, receive assistance in writing a resume’, job search and job interviewing.

For more information about these and other programs call (641) 856-2085.