Senator Taylor invites Lt. Gov. Reynolds to visit Mental Health Institute on Thursday’s visit to Mount Pleasant

Written by Theresa Rose on May 13, 2015

(Des Moines) Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds has been asked to include a visit to the Mental Health Institute she is seeking to close on a visit to Mount Pleasant on Thursday. In a letter to the Lieutenant Governor, State Senator Rich Taylor of Mount Pleasant wrote “Iowa families are hoping you will make the extra effort to understand why they are so opposed to the loss of of this important mental health care facility.”

Here is the complete text of the letter: (Also attached)

Dear Lt. Gov. Reynolds,

Your office has announced that you plan to visit a business in Mount Pleasant tomorrow, May 14. I strongly encourage you to include a visit to the Mental Health Institute at Mount Pleasant. Iowa families are hoping you will make the extra effort to understand why they are so opposed to the loss of of this important mental health care facility.

As you know, your Administration began 2015 by abruptly announcing plans to close this health care facility.

Here are a few reasons that help explain the very strong opposition to the Branstad/Reynolds Administration’s sudden decision to close the facility:

• Forcing Iowans suffering from acute mental illnesses to seek treatment farther from their families and communities runs counter to the most effective treatment approaches.

• Not a single mental health care advocacy group or provider supports closing the Mount Pleasant mental health care center. It will only worsen Iowa’s shortage of mental health care beds.

• Law enforcement officers have pointed out that making more mental health care services more difficult to access can pose a threat to public safety and increase costs to local law enforcement agencies.

• Both the Iowa Senate and the Iowa House have either passed or are working on bipartisan legislation to keep the facility open.

• A recent poll found that 68 percent of Iowans oppose closing the Mount Pleasant Mental Health Institute.

Announcing plans to close this facility without learning firsthand of the benefits it provides to the people of Iowa was a mistake. You can begin to correct that mistake on Thursday.

-end-