(The Center Square) – Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday that the state will spend more than $50 million of CARES Act funding on mental health services in Iowa.
With COVID-19 restrictions closing schools, keeping people in homes and disrupting businesses, Reynolds said a news conference Tuesday in Urbandale that residents' mental health needs cant be ignored.
"With these kinds of disruptions in our lives and livelihoods, it's important for Iowans to be mindful of their mental health and to know that there's a place to go if they need help," Reynolds said.
The governor said the state's mental health service providers have taken big steps during the pandemic to increase telehealth services that can be conducted via video conferencing. But, she said, more needed to be done.
Of the new $50 million investment, $30 million will be directed to regions to support adult and children mental health services to meet the increased demands of the state's population. An additional $20 million will be allocated to mental health and substance abuse providers to cover increased costs.
"We don't want to just weather the storm of COVID-19," Reynolds said. "We want to help our system innovate and adapt to the challenges the future holds."
Department of Human Services Director Kelly Garcia said the pandemic has changed the landscape.
"With day habilitation being closed this has meant increased demand placed on our home- and community-based service providers, those who serve some of our most complex Iowans," Garcia said.