Keep them open

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Governor Terry Branstad decided to close two of the four mental health institutes in Iowa as a cost saving move. If Cherokee had been one of them, we would have certainly been opposed to that decision.

Cherokee is not one of the two chosen by the governor in a seemingly arbitrary manner.

We still oppose Branstad's decision as wrong. So does the state legislature, which voted to fund all four of the state's MHIs, but Branstad remains determined to close the facilities in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant.

The mental health needs of the state have not diminished. In fact, there is a growing awareness across the nation that mental health services should be upgraded and made more accessible.

There may be some economic benefit in operating only two facilities, but for many individuals, acute mental health care would become less accessible and farther from the support of family and friends.

At a later date, those who want to reduce the number of facilities would likely advocate further consolidation from two MHIs to one.