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People in social services respond to Iowa's mental health system

Beth Malicki spoke with Kathy Johnson of the Abbe Center and Lowell Yoder with UIHC about the...
Beth Malicki spoke with Kathy Johnson of the Abbe Center and Lowell Yoder with UIHC about the mental health issues they face in their jobs. (KCRG-TV9)(KCRG)
Published: May. 2, 2017 at 5:34 PM CDT
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What are some of the solutions health professionals would like to see in Iowa's mental health system?

Since the state closed two of Iowa's four mental health facilities in 2015, hospitals say they're inundated with patients suffering from mental health issues.

That includes the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, or UIHC. The Abbe Center for Community Mental Health in Cedar Rapids is also seeing an impact.

Kathy Johnson, a licensed mental health social worker and executive director of the Abbe Center, says the system works best when you 'braid together' funding from local, state and federal funds.

"So one of the things that we need is a full continuum of comprehensive services available on the outpatient side," said Johnson.

Lowell Yoder is the Assistant Director of Social Services at UIHC. He says continuing care is really critical for finding appropriate places for mental health patients to go.

"So we often have patients waiting for inpatient psychiatric beds, part of that wait is because we have people on those inpatient units who are ready for discharge, but they don't have any place to go," said Yoder.

To see the entire interview with Yoder and Johnson, watch the video above.