INDEPENDENCE- In 2014, Iowa redesigned its’ mental health system to switch from a county run system to a region run system. Under the redesign, all Iowa counties were required to merge their mental health services with other counties to create regions. The redesign ultimately created 13 MHDS regions in Iowa. As a part of this redesign, Buchanan County was placed in the MHDS of East Central Region. A variety of services are offered in the East Central region, one of which is crisis service, offered through Mobile Crisis Outreach.
According to Drew Martel, coordinator for Foundation2 Mobile Crisis Outreach, the idea for the program came over 10 years ago.
“Our mobile crisis program’s inception was in 2003, but we were only funded in Linn County prior to the mental health redesign. Now under the regional system, all that funding is pooled together by the region so the service is offered throughout the region,” Martel said.
Martel said that the purpose of Foundation2 Mobile Crisis Outreach is to provide free services to individuals in a mental health or behavioral health crisis. Martel said that the organization provides onsite crisis counseling, which includes therapeutic techniques as well as social work.
“We really are a catch all. We take the person on their word. If they call us and say they are in crisis, we get them services, if that’s what they want,” Martel said.
Anybody can use Foundation2’s crisis program, provide that they live in the East Central region. Martel said that Buchanan County, as well as Linn, Johnson, Iowa, Jones, Deleware, Benton, Bremer, and Dubuque counties are all apart of the East Central region.
“We can’t travel outside of that,” Martel said.
Martel said that counselors will travel to a person in need, as long as there is no active violence occurring at the location while counselors are on site. He also said that in order for a person to receive services, someone on site must be willing to work with the counselors.
“Somebody there has to be willing to talk with us. We don’t surprise anybody,” Martel said.
If a person is in need of assistance, Martel said they can call the Iowa Help line at 1-855-800-1239. He said the line is monitored 24 hours of the day by crisis counselors.
“Anybody in this region can call that line and talk anonymously if they want to talk to a trained crisis counselor on the phone, anytime of day. They can call and talk about depression, they can talk about problems, and at that point they can request counselors come out or the phone counselor can advice counselors to come out,” Martel said.
He also said that an online chatline is also available for use at www.iowahelpline.org. Martel said that the chatline is the same version of help line, except it is a web version.
“Sometimes some of the kids we come upon would rather use that,” he said.
Martel stressed that the services offered by Foundation2 are completely confidential.
“Our counselors are under the same guidelines that a medical professional or therapist are under in that we can’t share information without the client’s consent,” he said.
He also said that Foundation2 is client centered.
“We are not in the business of forcing anyone to do anything they’re uncomfortable with. We like to meet the person at their location because we think that makes it more comfortable for the client that we can travel to their house, to their place of business, to visit with them, as opposed to them coming to our office.We try to develop with them a plan to address the crisis,” Martel said.
For more information on Foundation2, you can visit them on the web at www.foundation2.org.