With recent concerns on the availability of mental health care in the area, two area county supervisory boards and another two area sheriffs met in Winnebago County to discuss the possibility of a new facility opening up in Mason City. Members of the Hancock and Winnebago County Boards along with Winnebago Sheriff Dave Peterson, Worth County Sheriff Dan Fank, and Worth, Winnebago, and Hancock County Mental Health Coordinator Sandy Morales met with an official with the North Iowa Transition Center on Thursday morning to discuss the issue.
The need is definitely there according to published reports. 2,909 persons in north central Iowa experience serious psychological distress every month. 12,040 adults in north central Iowa experienced at least four adverse childhood experiences. These include physical abuse, emotional abuse, and/or domestic violence while growing up in the home. Statistics bear out that of those, close to 5,900 have a feeling of hopelessness, nearly 4,500 feel worthless, and 1,910 adults experience extreme depression.
Local sheriffs offices are faced with having to respond to calls where some of these individuals need assistance. While there is a psychological unit at Mercy Medical Center, they may not be able to get to the patient because of the lack of bed space. This leaves the area with a need to service these individuals.
The North Iowa Transition Center in Mason City is hoping to change all of that. They are in the planning stages of building a Crisis Stabilization Center on 4th and Federal Avenue in Mason City. Construction of the facility is slated to begin in November with the completion forecast to be August of 2018. The center would then open on September 1, 2018 with 10 beds and room for expansion.
Mark Dodd, Executive Director of the North Iowa Transition Center explains the purpose for the Crisis Stabilization Center.
The center has a number of benefits for the nearby counties, particularly for law enforcement because it would reduce costs of having to continually have deputies stay and monitor the patient. This won’t be true in court mandated circumstances, but local courts tend to send all convicts with psychiatric tendencies to the 5 East Wing of Mercy Medical Center in Mason City. Unfortunately, sometimes the bed space is not available which is where the Crisis Stabilization Center comes in.
Other benefits include having the patients family and friends close by for support as well as having their doctors and medical care teams.
The North Iowa Transition Center will have a Community Awareness Kick-off on April 1st in Mason City.