January 2022 Edition
Crisis Response News and More
Welcome to the January 2022 edition of the Southwest Iowa MHDS Regional Newsletter. In this edition you will learn about the Region's Crisis Service Coordination and success stories from this program.
Crisis Service Coordination
Even before the pandemic, demand for mental health and substance use services was increasing. The COVID-19 pandemic has only made the situation more challenging, subjecting people to social isolation, loss of routines, and traumatic grief. According to a White House press release dated Oct 19,2021, Epidemiological data now show alarming rates of behavioral health needs among school-age youth, with significant increases in the number experiencing moderate to severe anxiety and depression. Even more concerning, suicide remains the second leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 10 and 24. Mental health emergencies among young people have increased across the board. In 2020, there was a 24 percent increase in emergency room visits for mental health reasons for children ages 5 through 11, and a more than a 30 percent increase in visits for those between 12 and 17 years old.
Adults had similar data, many people have experienced poor mental health, with over 30% of adults in the U.S. reporting symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder, up from 11% of adults prior to the pandemic. Substance use issues have also worsened – deaths due to drug overdose increased by nearly 30% from 2019 to 2020, primarily driven by opioids. This increase in mental health and substance use issues comes at a time when resources are already strained, and people with mental health diagnoses often face barriers to care. Among adults with symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder during the pandemic, over 20% report needing, but not receiving, mental health counseling or therapy. (https://www.kff.org/statedata/mental-health-and-substance-use-state-fact-sheets/)

To help address some of these issues, the Region started a soft roll out of our Crisis Access Network’s Service Coordination component on 1/25/2021. This soft roll out was designed to begin working on the warm hand off piece between Heartland Family Service’s Mental Health Crisis Response Team (MHCRT)  and the Region’s Service Coordination. The Region then expanded this program to include warm handoffs between Harbor Point’s Crisis Stabilization Residential Service (CSRS) and the other Crisis Access Network services on 8/16/2021.

With this program, region service coordinators can help fill gaps in the system of unmet needs of those individuals that find themselves in crisis. By helping individuals find needed services, they will no longer need to use crisis services for their mental health/substance use in the future. 

The Region Crisis Service Coordinator follows up within 24 hours of the referral from these crisis programs and continues to follow the individual for at least 30 days ensuring that the appropriate Mental Health/Substance Use services are set up for the individual. After 30 days, the Crisis Service Coordinator completes a Follow-Up Questionnaire with the individual to ensure the appropriate services are in place and then discharges the individual from crisis service coordination if they no longer require assistance.
In FY22, there were (77) Crisis Service Coordination referrals from MHCRT. The Region has received positive feedback from both individual and the MHCRT staff regarding the helpfulness of the crisis service coordination process. As of today’s date (1/13/22), the Region has had 84 MHCRT referrals and 36 (CSRS) this fiscal year.  

Below is some additional data about the Region's Crisis Service Coordination from FY21.

A positive outcome of one our many Crisis Service Coordination referrals was a young man from our region. He was raised in the foster care system and had little to no natural supports in the community. He lost his Social Security Disability benefits, became homeless for over a year, and was a victim of physical violence. Once he was connected to Harbor Point CSRS and CAN service coordination which resulted into service coordination, his regional service coordinator was able to assist him in getting his SSI, Medicaid and SNAP benefits back and reconnected to mental health services. Once all of these steps had taken place, he was able to secure a part time job in which he loves! His final goal, which is not too far off, is to secure his own apartment with supports.

Another positive example is our work with local police departments.

As a Service Coordinator referrals are received from various entities for diverse reasons. When an individual living in the Southwest Iowa MHDS Region experiences a crisis we are here to step in and provide additional support. The Council Bluffs Police Department collaborates with Community Interventionists to assist with high utilizers of officers being dispatched to residents. A female was in need of further supports and was referred to the Southwest Iowa MHDS Region for Crisis Service Coordination.

This resident was then assigned to a Service Coordinator and they met her at a local hospital to establish rapport and determine next steps. The Service Coordinator helped decipher which community resources and referrals were appropriate based on her individual needs and qualifications. It was determined that the client needed to become more physically stable and then would be eligible and most benefit from going to an inpatient treatment facility.

The Service Coordinator collaborated with staff at the treatment facility and was able to provide them with ongoing support while there and assist in creating an appropriate discharge plan. The Service Coordinator was able to get this individual approved for food assistance, a free government phone, as well as connected to transitional housing. Additionally, the process for applying for Social Security Disability benefits was started and if approved will help with ongoing financial support. As part of this client’s discharge plan referrals were made to connect this individual to local providers for intensive outpatient treatment, finding a sponsor, as well as ongoing therapy to reinforce the skills acquired while in treatment. Discussion has now turned to focusing on further referrals to programs which can continue providing support in a long-term capacity to assist with establishing goals and having a team to reach out to for guidance.

The client is very appreciative of the Service Coordinator’s support and expressed multiple times that they have given them “hope” for their future. This is one of the main visions of Southwest Iowa MHDS Region- to Empower individuals and instill hope for their futures, so when a client feels this is what is being implemented it is great feedback that our undertakings are effective. There is agreed consensus from this individual that if she was not connected to staff at the Southwest Iowa MHDS Region that the outcome and course of her life could have been drastically different.

The SWIA MHDS Region's Crisis Stabilization Services

Mental Health Crisis Response Team

Provides multiple crisis service

Precommital screening for residents of the SWIA Region

Assessments for court ordered committals

Telehealth Crisis Response available to SWIA Region residents. Services include assessment, stabilization and referrals to community services. This service can only be initiated by Law Enforcement

These services are expanding into all counties in the Region

For further information, Law Enforcement can contact Jenny Stewart (Director) at 712-325-5619

"To avoid the need for an Emergency Protective Custody hold or inpatient psychiatric hospitalization"

Service provided by Heartland Family Service
Harbor Point Crisis Stabilization Residential Service (CSRS)

Call 712-303-7066 to make a referral

Referrals accepted 24 hours a day

A screening set up within 24 hours

Accepts referrals from friends, family, emergency departments and outpatient providers

Accepts referrals from Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie and Shelby counties

"Provides a safe, caring, and home-like environment to those with a mental illness in crisis while modeling skills needed to successfully navigate in the community"

Service provided by Zion Integrated Behavioral Health Services

Call (844) 673-4469 for help and support

Crisis line available 24/7, toll free and confidential

Connects individuals in crisis to a helping hand and the resources to address and improve mental wellness

Anyone can call, including service providers on behalf of clients and patients

For residents of Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie and Shelby counties

"Improving mental wellness, hope and outcomes for residents of Southwest Iowa in times of crisis"

Service operated by Boys Town