Children’s mental health bill signed into law Wednesday
DES MOINES — With the stroke of a pen, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law that will see a statewide children’s mental health system formed. State Sen. Jeff Edler, R-State Center, was instrumental in leading the bill through the legislature this session and said it was one of his top priorities.
“This is a great moment for Iowa children and their parents,” Edler said.
The new law will see a commission formed to focus on children’s mental and behavioral health. The new system will be added to the existing adult mental health system, which is organized into several regions throughout the state.
Those mental health regions are made up of counties which share funds for mental health care services. Marshall County, for instance, is part of the Central Iowa Community Services region.
Reynolds said the law is an important step forward for mental health care in the state.
“By signing this legislation into law, we are lifting up Iowa’s young people by standing beside those who love them,” Reynolds said before signing the bill in the State Capitol Building rotunda Wednesday. “This support takes many forms, from early diagnosis and 24-hour access to services through a dedicated hotline, to regional crisis stabilization and mobile response teams.”
She said she was proud of the bi-partisan nature of bringing the bill together and the leadership shown by the legislation’s floor managers, including Edler in the Senate.
Reynolds said the catalyst for the bill came from Clive residents Mary Neubauer and her husband Larry Loss, whose son Sergei died by suicide months after graduating from Urbandale High School.
“I think it’s so hard to feel the context of history when you’re in the moment, but this is huge,” Neubauer said. “I hope that our decision to share Sergei’s struggles and to talk about our family’s story has made a difference.”
She said many families go through similar struggles with their children.
“It’s very bittersweet,” Loss said of the bill signing. “I’m thrilled that there are resources that are going to come into play for the people that need them and sad because our son’s not with us.”
Edler said the bill will begin to take effect on July 1. For more information on the children’s behavioral health bill, visit https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=88&ba=HF690
Contact Adam Sodders at 641-753-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org