# Mental Health



Eight revealing exchanges from the Reynolds/DeJear debate

You have to hand it to Deidre DeJear.

Governor Kim Reynolds has all the advantages of incumbency. She has spent most of the year avoiding unscripted questions and taking credit for projects that President Joe Biden and a Democratic Congress made possible. While the challenger has struggled to get her message in front of voters, Reynolds enjoys free media coverage almost daily and has blanketed the state with (sometimes racist) television commercials for the past six weeks.

The day before the only scheduled debate between the candidates for governor—Reynolds would not agree to the traditional three—the Des Moines Register published a new Iowa Poll by Selzer & Co showing the incumbent ahead by 52 percent to 35 percent among likely voters.

In other words, the odds facing DeJear could hardly be longer.

Nevertheless, the challenger spoke with clarity and confidence throughout the hour-long “Iowa Press” appearance, using facts and personal stories to great effect. She refused to take the bait when Reynolds fell back on divisive talking points about what “they” (Democrats) supposedly want to do.

I hope voters will take the time to watch the whole program, or read the transcript on the Iowa PBS site. Eight exchanges struck me as particularly revealing.

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Kacey Davis for Broadlawns trustee

Melissa Halverson, DNP ARNP is a Des Moines area nurse practitioner specializing in gastroenterology.

This November, Polk County voters will fill three seats on the Broadlawns Board of Trustees.

When I heard my friend and former colleague Kacey Davis was running for Broadlawns Board of Trustees, I must admit I was a little surprised. After all, she had a toddler, and a demanding job. That seemed to be a lot to handle even without a campaign in the mix.

But I should not have been so surprised. As a family nurse practitioner in community health, Kacey knows firsthand the barriers to finding medical care and mental health services for our most vulnerable residents. Helping to break down those barriers motivates her to serve on the Broadlawns Board of Trustees.

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Problems with 988 crisis hotline start-up

Steve Corbin is emeritus professor of marketing at the University of Northern Iowa and a freelance writer who receives no remuneration, funding, or endorsement from any for-profit business, nonprofit organization, political action committee, or political party.

Most people have memorized their Social Security number, cell phone number, anniversary, birthday and the 911 emergency medical, fire and police protection services number. On July 16, the number “988” became an easy-to-remember crisis hotline number we should log into our memory bank.

Anyone who needs support for a suicidal, mental health, substance use crisis, or other emotional issue can dial or text 988. The nationwide set-up should strengthen and expand the existing Lifeline system, which is a national network of more than 200 local, independent and state-funded crisis centers.

Both the new 988 hotline number and the previous ten-digit number (800-273-8255) will remain in operation, providing 24/7 free and confidential support for people in distress.

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For PTSD Awareness Month, veterans need allies and advocates

David Farwell of Spillville, Iowa is a service-connected PTSD disabled veteran and activist for veteran health services as owed to them by law.  

I’ve moved 49 times in 50 years, which is not surprising for a military brat and former global project leader at an international corporation.  

What may be surprising is why my last move was from a Chicago high-rise to Spillville, Iowa, and how an invisible epidemic shattered my life, ended my career and brought me to the tiny town in Iowa where Dvorak completed his New World Symphony.

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Linn County supervisors approve conversion therapy ban

The Linn County Board of Supervisors voted on June 13 to “prohibit any efforts by service providers to change sexual orientation and/or gender identity of minors, including conversion and reparative therapy,” in unincorporated areas of the county.

“Conversion therapy” refers to efforts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and has been widely discredited as ineffective and traumatizing for youth. Associations representing medical professionals, counselors, and therapists have denounced the practice for many years.

Supervisor Stacey Walker led efforts to pass the ordinance, and Supervisor Ben Rogers (also a Democrat) provided the second vote in favor. When the board considered the third and final reading, Walker said the policy “will save lives” and described it as “a moral imperative for all policymakers who take seriously their job of protecting the health and welfare of the people.”

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Cheerful cruelty belies governor's concern over kids' mental health

Self-awareness has never been Governor Kim Reynolds’ strong suit.

So it was that just this week, Reynolds asserted in an interview with the Des Moines Register that mental health “has been so important to me.” The governor lamented the pressures kids have faced over the past two years, “the depression, the anxiety,” adding, “We’ve seen suicide rates among young girls up over 50 percent” during the COVID-19 pandemic. She bragged about “working on mental health for five years” and “standing up a children’s mental health system.”

You’d never guess she just signed a bill that is guaranteed to increase depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation among some of Iowa’s most vulnerable youth.

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