SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Last week, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced Iowa mental health agencies would soon be able to participate in more than $50 million in CARES Act funding.
The $50 million will be broken down into two tiers; $30 million to be divided between Iowa’s 14 mental health regions to support ongoing adult and children’s mental health services.
The remaining $20 million is going to mental health and substance abuse providers, covering increased costs associated with the pandemic.
“We know it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Until we know that every person who has an addiction or mental health issue has access to their needed care, we have a lot of work to do,” said Heidi Kammer-Hodge with Transitional Services of Iowa and Family Access Center.
Kammer-Hodge with Transitional Services of Iowa calls the funding stream a step in the right direction, especially as more Iowans seek help due to COVID-19 concerns.
“We also know that, during a pandemic, substance use goes up. We know that potential child abuse and male treatment goes up. We know that symptoms like depression and anxiety go up,” said Kammer-Hodge.
She said additional funding through the CARES Act will go directly towards helping educate Siouxlanders with options for their disorders.
“Help increase access to services. We would also like to be able to leverage the funds to increase support and access through telehealth and other resources during the pandemic,” said Kammer-Hodge.
Art Silva is CEO at Sioux City’s Boys and Girls Home and Family Services.
He said the mental health of young people in Siouxland is being hit the hardest during these difficult and confusing times.
“We’re seeing stress in our children. Our children are more concerned with not them getting sick but our helpers asking, ‘where is so and so on the staff?'” said Silva.
Questions, filled with stress and anxiety. Another reason Silva said providing adequate funding for facilities like Boys and Girls Home is so important.
“We lose money every day with every child. The ability to keep good people, train, and invest that’s all tied up in the daily per diem we get per child is woefully understated. The Governor’s doing all that I think she can do its a complex problem, and she’s going to need the legislature to help fix it,” said Silva.