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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

    Mental Health Service Access Points for Muscatine County Residents

    Nora Dwyer
    Nora Dwyer is a twenty-year resident of Muscatine. She and her husband Rich have three adult children, Audrey, Keegan and Justin. After a successful career as a bodyworker and movement coach, she is exploring her journalist roots and is working on Discover Muscatine and other projects. Nora’s interests are in health and wellness and making a difference.

    Muscatine Living

    In researching Micalea’s Hope and the services it helps provide access to, several services provided by the Eastern Iowa Mental Health and Disabilities Region (MIR) appeared as important resources for Muscatine County residents to know about and access. As Muscatine County will continue to receive services from the EIR, at least through June of 2020, these represent the most effective places to seek assistance.

    The EIR Website

    People may find information about service providers in the area and apply for assistance with services at https://easterniowamhds.org/.

    Muscatine County Community Services

    By calling (563)-263-7512, people can receive local help accessing mental health services and financial assistance.

    Peer-Led Drop in Center

    Muscatine has the newly opened Robert Young Peer-Led Drop-in Center at MCSA. The Peer-Led Drop-in Center is a point of access to at least talk to someone and connect them with additional help if needed. They also have professional staff available to provide individual and group counseling.

    UnityPoint Trinity Muscatine

    The hospital’s staff includes care coordinators, who can help people navigate mental health resources available to them.

    Mobile Crisis Team

    For those who need immediate help, the Mobile Crisis Team can travel anywhere in the county to provide assistance. Residents may contact them by phone anytime at (844)-430-0375. When the team arrives, they can determine if a person poses a danger to themselves or others as well as connect them to nearby care providers.

    As with all services, making sure people know how to access them represents the key to their effectiveness. “We are making progress, [but] sometimes it takes a while for awareness of services [to spread], and many times, people don’t think about accessing these services until they really need [them] and are in a crisis,” said Lori Elam, CEO of the EIR.

    By raising awareness about available mental health services, Muscatine County can reduce its spending on emergency services. For example, Elam reported that she encountered a local resident who really needed someone to talk to and called 911 repeatedly, resulting in costly emergency services, such as ambulance dispatches. After the resident received the number for the mobile crisis team and was connected with a care coordinator, the number of times the person called 911 has gone down significantly.

    Better knowledge of mental health services can also prevent tragedies. Elam recounted the story of a young person who returned from college after receiving a schizophrenia diagnosis. Unfortunately, the person committed suicide because he struggled to find help and felt people ostracized him because of his uncharacteristic behaviors (the National Institute of Mental Health explains that schizophrenia can make a person seem disconnected from reality).

    By linking people with resources that can help with even the most challenging mental health conditions, as well as educating people to understand them, Muscatine County’s mental health resources have the potential to do a lot of good. “We have to reduce the stigma and help all of us realize [mental illness] is no different than any other disease,” Elam added.

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