Report seeks regional approach to mental health

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new report recommends the state revamp its mental health system by creating regional groups and new crisis intervention programs.

The report was prepared by the Department of Human Services and was released Monday.

Agency head Chuck Palmer says the current county-based mental health system needs to be replaced because there are inequities from county to county.

The recommendation calls for creating from five to 15 regional delivery groups. Palmer says the next six weeks will be spent developing implementation plans with a final report ready for the Legislature in mid-December.

Des Moines Democratic Sen. Jack Hatch says he’s confident lawmakers will approve an overhaul of the mental health delivery system during the next legislative session. Mount Pleasant Republican Representative David Heaton says he agrees.