In Des Moines, Iowa AMOS leaders organized a listening campaign in which they learned how the pandemic was wreaking havoc on the mental health of their children. They then launched a research campaign with 85 local officials and health system leaders to undergird the creation a new child crisis support system in central Iowa that includes: the hiring of two mobile crisis responders trained to work with children and adolescents by the Broadlawns Medical Center; a new Polk County Children’s Crisis Mental Health System including a warm line, community stabilization team, youth stabilization center; and youth-trained mobile crisis team. At a delegates assembly, leaders furthermore secured commitments from the Des Moines Police Chief to hire a mental health clinician within 911 dispatch.
Each piece required careful consideration and mobilization of community leadership to demonstrate political support. For example, 100 AMOS leaders appeared at a Broadlawns Medical Center Board Meeting to support the hiring of two mobile crisis responders trained to work with children and adolescents. During the hearing, one of the Trustees declared, "Wow, that's a lot of people."
AMOS leaders followed up on this and other plants of the program, inspired by thousands of Polk County residents who shared stories based on their experiences, conducted research, and organized postcard campaigns and neighborhood walks over 4 years to make new children's crisis support system a reality.
New Mental Health Resources Coming for Children in Polk County, Des Moines Register [pdf]
Polk County Unveils New Mental Health Services for Children, KCCI Des Moines [pdf]