New bill would create mental health system for youth

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – A bill that would create the first children’s mental health system in Iowa has made its way through the Iowa Senate and is now awaiting the governor’s approval. Rashel Brak, the clinical manager of Siouxland Mental Health Center, explained how the bill could solve a real problem in Iowa.

“So, the advantage is, we’d be able to identify the services that are essential for people to remain in their community and remain living functional lives,” said Brak.

The bill, proposed by Governor Reynolds, creates a system that would provide services for children who suffer from emotional issues, similar to the adult mental health systems already in place.

“What that would mean is, there would be identified core services that they would have access to, that the mental health systems would have to be able to provide, as we do similarly right now with adults,” said Brak.

Jadyn Blankership, a local Siouxlander, said he knows a lot of people that are suffering from mental issues. Blankenship said he’s in full support of any solution that would help with these issues in Sioux City. 
“I feel like, before this, there was really no help for them to get and there was nowhere for them to turn. I feel like it’s a really good thing.,” said Blankership.

But the plan, if approved, comes with a hefty price tag. Some are already saying the program would cost close to 10 million dollars to operate in its first 2 years.

“The major disadvantage typically when the legislature does these types of things is they’ll make laws, or create systems and don’t fund them at all, or they significantly underfund them,” said Brak. 

Despite questions over funding, most agree the measure is a first step in taking better care of Iowa children.

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