Proposed funding cuts for mental health services in Linn County will have a big impact on Foundation 2 services, especially our Mobile Crisis Outreach (MCO) program, which provides in-person crisis intervention to Linn County residents 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. The proposed cut will reduce the funding for MCO by 50%, creating a shortage of services, greatly impacting the community.
Foundation 2 staff spoke with KGAN about the impact of funding cuts; you can view the interview here.
Below is a list of several repercussions of reducing the availability of Mobile Crisis Outreach services:
· MCO is the only 24/7 in-person response for adult & youth mental health crisis situations, other than the hospital, and so there would be increased use of ERs for mental health emergencies
· Crisis stabilization is a major component of the state’s mental health redesign plan. This is specifically what Foundation 2 MCO does for Linn County, and by cutting the funding we will lose this model program. For helping when a person is in crisis, and perhaps considering taking their own life, we need to keep the MCO program alive.
· MCO responded to 200 calls last fiscal year, helping people in crisis in their homes, schools, and workplaces
· MCO is used by a number of other community providers, including CR Community Schools, ASAC and Goodwill, in addition to the for-profit sector use (i.e. HR departments, banks)
· Youth and adult inpatient committals could increase, as the alternative service capacity decreases or goes away
· Law enforcement officers will have to be present with the individual at the hospital as they wait to be admitted. Currently this is done by MCO, which provides for improved client care and it allows the officers to return to other duties
· Suicidal individuals will have to be triaged, and someone may not get a response when it is needed to save their life
· Federal funding will be lost — At the end of September, a two year Justice & Mental Health federal grant was just awarded to Iowa Department of Human Rights/Division of Criminal & Juvenile Justice Planning, for which the focus is the JFAST (Juvenile and Family Assistance & Stabilization Track) JFAST is a collaboration with F2 & several other community partners. The JFAST program is build upon the MCO crisis response — if there is not funding for MCO; we will not be able to continue JFAST. J-FAST is a joint effort of Foundation 2, Horizons, ASAC, Abbe Center, Tanager Place and St. Luke’s Hospital with the common goal of serving youth with immediate mental health or substance abuse needs quickly.
How Can I Help?
Foundation 2 can use your support with contacting local legislators, to gain support for help with financially supporting Linn County mental health services. The county needs to receive funding from the state, or the cuts will be put into place as of the first of January 2012. There are a number of services that will be eliminated or reduced along with Foundation 2 Mobile Crisis outreach. You can find contact information for legislators online here: Linn County Legislators.
The above list includes some great talking points to help facilitate your discussion.
Foundation 2 appreciates your assistance as we work secure funding to continue providing this vital service at full capacity.