Monday, October 10th has been declared “World Mental Health Day.”  This year’s theme is “investing in mental health.”  But is investing in mental health worth it?  Consider these global facts from the World Health Organization.

·         Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide

·         1 in 4 people will be affected by a mental disorder at some point in their lifetime

·         Every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide

·         Almost 50% of all mental disorders begin by the  age of 14

The World Health Organization’s websitestates that…

Financial and human resources allocated for mental health are inadequate especially in low resource countries. The majority of low- and middle-income countries spend less than 2% of their health budget on mental health.

Many countries have less than one mental health specialist per one million population. Even a considerable part of the limited resources is spent on large mental hospitals and not for services delivered through community and primary health care.

We need to increase investment for mental health and to shift the available resources towards more effective and more humanitarian forms of services.


How does Iowa score?  According to a 2009 “Grading the States” Report from National Alliance on Mental Illness(NAMI), Iowa’s Mental Health System receives a “D” rating.  This is an improvement from the “F” score of 2006. To put this into context, the United States as a whole also was rated a “D” due to several factors including an increased demand for services partnered with service budget cuts.

The state of Iowa is working to make things better.  In August of 2011, Department of Human Services Director Chuck Palmer announced several workgroupsto suggest changes in the delivery of mental health services.  These groups will make their recommendations sometime in December and the suggestions will be considered by Legislators in January 2012.  Workgroup topics include: Adult Mental Health, Brain Injury, Children’s Mental Health and Disability, Adult Intellectual Disability Services, and Regional Services.


On a more personal level, what can Foundation 2 offer those in need of mental health services?

·         Our Crisis Line is available to Iowa callers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

·          We offer Mobile Crisis Outreach to Linn County, Iowa residents 24/7, providing in-person counseling services within an hour of the request for service.

·          Our Family Counseling program provides individual and family counseling on an out-client basis. Counseling is provided on a sliding fee scale, based on income and the ability to pay.

·         Our LISW Therapy Services allow Foundation 2 to accept most insurance and also see clients on a sliding fee scale.

·         Foundation 2’s Depression and Anxiety Support Group meets every Monday evening, providing adults with depression or anxiety a caring and safe place to talk to others about what they are going through.

·         Our Survivors of Suicide Support Group meets twice a month, connecting adults who have lost a loved one to suicide with others who understand their grief and who can assist with healing.

·         Foundation 2’s Independent Living Services provide young adults with housing, skills training and support, allowing them to successfully live independently.

·         The Foundation 2 Youth Shelter assists youth ages 11-17 that are experiencing a personal or family crisis which makes it necessary to temporarily live away from home.

Foundation 2 has been committed to serving mental health needs since our creation.  We were established in 1970 by a group of Coe College and Kennedy High School volunteers who believed that critical mental and emotional health issues of the day were not being addressed by mainstream providers.  Forty-one years later, that grassroots spirit of helping others in need still underlies our agency’s mission to be a trusted, compassionate resource for people in crisis by offering counseling, safety, and support during difficult times.

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