The Iowa Coalition of Mental Health and Aging was established to address the needs of older Iowans with mental illnesses.
Access to mental health services by persons over the age of 65 remains the lowest among all population groups. Even when older adults with mental illnesses do obtain care, the treatments are not always effective. Many treatments are not even considered to be evidence-based or provided by persons who have been trained to work with older adults. Researchers, clinicians, administrators, consumers, and state officials recognize that this is as a serious problem. As the population continues to age and the number of older adults with mental illnesses continues to increase, responding to the problems faced by older Iowans with mental illnesses will become even more critical.
The ICMHA exists to expand and improve mental health care for older Iowans so that they can live, learn, recreate, engage in meaningful activities and access appropriate services in the communities of their choice.
1. Make mental wellness for older adults a priority for public policy makers
- Increase awareness about aging and mental health issues
- Build coalition efforts with other aging and mental health advocacy
- Advance select issues identified by the policy committee
2. Promote mental wellness among aging Iowans with emphasis on prevention, early intervention, evidence based treatment and recovery.
- Public education campaign via media sources.
- Increase the number of mental health screenings conducted in non-traditional
- Increase access to peer support
3. Increase the number of qualified providers of evidence based mental health services to older adults
- Increase formal training by identifying and offering existing resources for
- Represent aging interest in public policy efforts that address the workforce
issue more broadly;
- Develop a strategy to recruit and retain providers to work in aging and mental
4. Integrate health and supportive services to improve accessibility to mental health services for older Iowans
- Identify service providers that are likely to collaborate in local communities;
- Increase formal training efforts with non-specialty service providers
- Establish co-location efforts
5. Increase the capacity and impact of the ICMHA
- Increase visibility of coalition through outreach to community organizations
- Identify key stakeholders and increase coalition membership
- Secure continued support for ICMHA