America is mentally ill. Let's treat it

One in four American adults believe the 2020 presidential election was “stolen.” One in four say they won’t get a COVID vaccine. About one in five Americans believe one or more QAnon conspiracy theories.

But it is interesting how closely those numbers correlate with this one: Nearly one in five Americans (52 million) “live with a mental illness.”

The evidence is mounting that our dysfunctional politics are the result of mass mental illness.

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Refunding Des Moines

Brandi Webber is a local artist, volunteer, mother, and candidate for Des Moines City Council in Ward 3. -promoted by Laura Belin 

A community’s priorities can be made visible by looking at the breakdown of the city budget. Looking at Des Moines’ city budget, you see that our largest single priority, at roughly 39 percent of spending, is policing.

With such a large portion of our budget devoted to policing, examining the effectiveness of police and their role in our community should be non-controversial. When we talk about “defunding the police,” many will conjure an image of a city in disarray as the pillars of society crumble to the ground. The reality is, our society relies too heavily on a policing system.

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Iowa delegation tries again to address military suicides (updated)

UPDATE: The U.S. Senate passed the Sgt. Ketchum Rural Veterans Mental Health Act of 2021 by unanimous consent on June 24, and President Joe Biden signed it into law on June 30. Original post follows.

From the earliest Memorial Day observances organized by freed slaves following the Civil War, this holiday has focused on remembering military service members who died in wars. More than 26,700 Iowans have died in wartime service, with the Civil War accounting for nearly half of the fatalities.

Far too many Americans with military backgrounds die by their own hands. Hundreds of active-duty troops and more than 6,000 veterans take their own lives every year. That death toll exceeds the total U.S. military fatalities in Iraq from 2003 to 2020.

Iowa’s members of Congress have tried again this spring to improve mental health services for veterans. Unlike in previous years, legislation named after Sergeant Brandon Ketchum made it through the U.S. House and now awaits action in the Senate.

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What the Iowa Democratic Party needs to do ASAP

Amber Gustafson is a progressive activist and was the 2018 Democratic candidate in Iowa Senate district 19. -promoted by Laura Belin

Dear Fellow Iowa Democrats,

It’s a new year and with that comes new perspectives and new outlooks.

In November of 2020, I put my name forward to run for Iowa Democratic Party chair and with it I shared a plan to help our party regain our footing in our state. It was with determination and optimism that I stepped forward to offer my services to our party. But since my initial announcement, my family’s circumstances have come to bear on my plans for 2021.

It is with great regret that I have chosen to withdraw my name for consideration as chair of the Iowa Democratic Party.

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What would Jesus do about Iowa's broken mental health system?

Leslie Carpenter: Eliminating inpatient psychiatric beds has dire consequences for people with serious brain disorders. -promoted by Laura Belin

Mercy Iowa City recently announced that it will be closing its inpatient psychiatric unit, due to “the financial impact of COVID-19.” Hospital officials confirmed that the unit (recently staffed for ten inpatient beds) will close by the end of the calendar year, “in favor of expanding our outpatient service where there is greater community need.” 

However, outpatient care is no substitute for patients who need inpatient care. In fact, there’s no state in our country that needs to expand inpatient care more than Iowa.

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