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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

What's next for funding mental health services in Iowa?

The recent burst of funding doesn't make mental health services sustainable, according to NAMI Iowa Executive Director Peggy Huppert.

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced this week that $50 million in CARES Act funding will go to mental health services in Iowa.

Mental health experts are now breaking down what that means.

Two years ago, lawmakers passed complex-needs legislation. And last year, they passed into law the Children's Mental Health System.

In the more recent legislation, deadlines and mandates for access centers and more are spelled out.

But the state has never funded either of these policies. 

The recent burst of funding doesn't make mental health services sustainable, according to NAMI Iowa Executive Director Peggy Huppert.

"We really appreciate [Gov. Reynolds] directing $50 million in federal CARES money to mental health and addiction services," Huppert said. "It's going to help a lot this year, but it's a one-time fix. It's one-time money."

As part of the previous mandates, six new access centers must be operational by July 2021. 

None have opened yet.

"We need a fix and it needs to happen early in the new session, because counties have to have certified their budgets by March," Huppert said.

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