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

Mom fights for more mental health funding in Iowa after losing her son to suicide

IOWA — A Clive mom was at the Iowa State Capitol Wednesday pushing for change in the way Iowa handles mental illness. Mary Neubauer’s son Sergei struggled...

IOWA — A Clive mom was at the Iowa State Capitol Wednesday pushing for change in the way Iowa handles mental illness.

Mary Neubauer’s son Sergei struggled with mental illness, but the help he needed wasn’t available in Iowa.

“He was so artistic. He was athletic, he played football, he played soccer he was a varsity wrestler for Urbandale. He was outgoing and funny and all of those things, but what he didn’t share with people was that he was struggling,” Neubauer said.

She said Sergei battled depression, anxiety and PTSD.

“We were looking for treatment options for him here in Iowa and we just couldn’t find the help that he needed here in Iowa,” Neubauer said.

In September of 2017 Sergei died by suicide. He was 18.

“Larry and I and our friends and our family, we call ourselves Sergei’s soldiers. You see I wear a wristband for him every day,” Neubauer said.

The death of her son lit a spark in Mary.

One that hasn’t flickered out years after Sergei’s death.

“As a parent, you’re just struggling to try to keep it together with all the pressure that your family is under and then to know the help that he needed wasn’t going to be found here, it was just devastating to us,” Neubauer said.

She wants mental healthcare to improve in Iowa, so other Iowans have access to treatment programs that weren’t available to her son.

“There are folks out there right now who need help and I want more help to be available for them,” Neubauer said.

Mary Neubauer said she’s happy the governor’s “Invest in Iowa” proposal includes a plan to boost funding for mental health care.

She now hopes lawmakers approve the plan so those struggling can get the help they need.