National Council for Mental Wellbeing

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June 30, 2015

The Honorable Terry Branstad
1007 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319


Dear Governor Branstad:

We respectfully urge your administration to apply for a planning grant from the federal government that could lead to significant additional funding for mental health services and addiction treatment for thousands of Iowans.

The new federal funding was established in the Excellence in Mental Health Act, passed by Congress in a March 2014 bipartisan vote. The Act is designed to increase access to community mental health and substance use treatment centers – services for which there is great need in our state – and authorizes a total of $1.1 billion to be spent on two-year pilot programs in eight states.

If our state was selected for the pilot program, thousands of residents would have greater access to much needed services, including crisis response and suicide prevention; alcohol and drug abuse treatment; comprehensive outpatient mental health services; and help for special populations such as veterans and children.

The deadline for applying for the planning grant is August 5.  Up to 25 states will be awarded planning grants, and only those will be eligible to be selected as one of the eight states.  This is an incredible opportunity to expand addiction and mental health services in our state, and we strongly urge your administration to apply for the grant funds. Thank you.



Sean Abramowitz

Stuart Ambrose

Patrick Bauer

Denise Beenk

Jaclyn Bentley

Dee Dee Chance

Shelly Chandler
Executive Director
Iowa Association of Community Providers

David Discher
Interim Executive Director
Young Women’s Resource Center

Laurie Doyon

Sara Etringer

Steven Feldmann
Retired Police Lieutenant
City of Cedar Rapids

Paul J. Fitzgerald
Story County

Gary Gansemer
President & CEO
Hillcrest Family Services

Edward George

Dave Heaton
Iowa State Representative
District 84

Matt Hidlebaugh

Robin Higdon-Fleming

Kent Jackson
Director of Behavioral Health Services
UnityPoint Health St. Luke’s Hospital

    Cindy Kaestner
Executive Director
Abbe Center for Community Mental Health

Andrea Kedley

Kim Keleher

Jessica Keller-Cigrand

Sandy Marshall

Catherine Miller

Nancy Moton

Joel L. Olah
Executive Director
Aging Resources of Central Iowa

Tracy Peden

Amanda Ragan
Iowa State Senator
District 33

Denise Rathman
Executive Director
National Association of Social Workers Iowa Chapter

Lisa Regan

Christina Schark
Executive Director
Southern Iowa Mental Health Center

Anne Starr
Chief Executive Officer
Orchard Place

Amy Spurgeon

Chris Stockseth

Susanna Streng