DES MOINES, Iowa — Three candidates for governor shared some personal stories about mental illness and addiction at a forum put on by the Des Moines Register at Des Moines University on Sunday.
Governor Kim Reynolds said mental health services are at the forefront of her administration and from personal experience she knows mental health and addiction go hand in hand as she celebrates 18 years of sobriety.
“I think it’s important that we work really hard to put in place an integrated coordinated health care system and that’s part of it. And I think that the more we are able to do that we will do better at being able to utilize the resources that we have to get people the treatment that they need,” Gov. Reynolds said
Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Fred Hubbell said he disagrees with the way Reynolds and former Gov. Terry Branstad tried to address mental health issues and believes the programs are underfunded.
“As governor I will also support expanding community based care by investing in more training and funding for psychologists, social workers and nurses that will help Iowans address mental health issues before they reach a crisis point and before they need to access a state level institution,” Hubbell said.
Libertarian Gubernatorial Candidate Jake Porter said he too can relate to others because at one point he had come close to committing suicide and in addition to increasing funding he thinks the stigma around mental issues and addiction needs to be addressed.
“There’s so much stigma surrounding it that a lot of people aren’t going to donate money to help with this and they are not going to help form non profits to help with this as well. And if we diverted some funds over into actual treatment as opposed to putting people in prison and we made that part of this, I think funding would be a lot better,” Porter said.
But all three candidates do agree on one thing, the legislature needs to do more to address mental health services.