At the end of 2017, the city of Osceola and local business leaders sat down to a comprehensive planning meeting to research and plan for the greatest needs for Osceola and Clarke County. The combined efforts of Clarke Community Schools, Clarke County Supervisors, the Clarke County Development Corporation, the city of Osceola Administrators and local business leaders created a list of top priorities to address in 2018, and in the top 5 on the list was to provide a higher focus on mental health support for the community. One mental health service highlight the committee looks to bring to the forefront for the community is the County Rural Offices of Social Services (CROSS) region. Through their collaborative service and support, the visibility and availability of mental health services has greatly increased in Southern Iowa.
Comprised of Ringgold, Decatur, Wayne, Clarke, Lucas, Monroe and Marion Counties, CROSS Mental Health and Disabilities Region was established in 2014 with the purpose of developing and delivering services to adults with mental health and intellectual disabilities to improve quality of life. The CROSS Region has met many goals over the past several years. Some of the most important successes of CROSS include:
- Creating a 24-hour help line – Available to anyone going through a hard time, or feeling anxious or depressed, the help line is answered any time of day or night by a crisis counselor. The 24-hour helpline number is 844-430-8520. Text services are also available at 800-332-4224, or online chat counseling can be accessed Monday-Friday from 9am-3pm at www.foundation2crisischat.org.
- Funding telepsych services – The Region partnered with Integrated Telehealth Partners to help fund telepsych services in hospital emergency department and jails in participating member counties.
- Developing Assertive Community Treatment programs – CROSS Region provided a competitive grant to Resources for Human Development to develop one of the first Rural Assertive Community Treatment programs in the state of Iowa. This treatment is designed for individuals living with mental health issues but for whom traditional outpatient services may not have been successful.
- Training coordinators and volunteers – The Region has provided training to several Regional coordinators and volunteers to provide Mental Health First Aid training in south-central communities. Three coordinators and two volunteers also received training in C3 De-escalation, to provide support to a person who may already be in crisis and unable to make rational decisions.
- Participating in the Stepping Up Initiative – Nationally recognized, the Stepping Up Initiative works to decrease the number of individuals with mental health issues in the jails. Each county in the Region has signed a declaration to participate.
Future goals are constantly being explored and worked on, including a competitive grant for the development of an Access Center to serve as a one-stop-shop for those in mental health crisis, and partnering with another Region to implement the IStart program to assist people with intellectual disabilities who have demonstrated behavioral problems that interfere with their daily lives.
CROSS Region will continue to investigate needed services to meet the complex needs of south-central Iowans living with mental illness and intellectual disabilities. With a goal of increasing access to mental health services, CROSS Region looks forward to another successful and productive year.
Mary DeLong, Region Coordinator for Clarke County states, “Clarke County and its citizens have benefited greatly from being a part of such an innovative Region as County Rural Offices of Social Services. By collaborating with the other counties in the Region, as well as other Regions, available services in our county have been greatly enhanced.”
If you or someone you know is in need of mental health services or support, please don’t hesitate to utilize the CROSS Mental Health Region’s services, either through the 24-hour hotline: 844-430-8520, or through any one of the member county extension phone numbers below:
- Clarke County: 641-414-2968
- Decatur County: 641-446-7178
- Lucas County: 641-774-0423
- Marion County: 641-828-8149 x101
- Monroe County: 641-932-2427
- Ringgold County: 641-464-0691
- Wayne County: 641-872-1301