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Funding Youth Mental Health

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)-The Linn County Leaque of Women Voters organized a youth mental health forum at Mercy Medical Center to ask people in the Corridor to stick together.

In one day, a mental diagnosis can change a life of a loved one, something Mary Ann Nelson knows all too well.

"It's difficult to deal with someone who has mental health problems because they do not believe they have mental health problems," she said."You are scared to death."

Her family has been through it all. Two family members were diagnosed as adults with schizophrenia. Those family members don't live in the Corridor but she has seen the impact of what mental illness can do to not only patients, but also families.

"When a person doesn't want help and they don't say how they are going to hurt someone else or themselves, nothing can be done until they actually do it. Even though family members know it's a threat."

So now, organizations like Four Oaks are pushing for funds, support and more therapists to work with kids diagnosed with mental illness.

Something that Jim Ernst, President and CEO of Four Oaks, believes will encourage kids to thrive.

"I don't think that there isn't hope for kids. If we can be there at the right time with the right support, the vast majority of them are going to be successful.

Panelists talked about how wide spread mental illness is and that awareness is growing. But they want to make it even better.

"Not all the kids have the support to get them through those times," Ernst said.

It doesn't just start here in Linn County. Jim says it's something Iowans statewide should consider and something Mary Ann is passionate about.

The Senate Appropiations Committee passed a budget that would give Iowa $1.9 billion dollars for health and human services. A percentage of those funds, will help kids and adults with mental illness in Iowa.

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