"On May 18, 100 Polk County residents celebrated the launch of a new mental health workforce program at a Mental Health Workforce Kickoff at Corinthian Baptist Church. The $1.8M mental health workforce investment from Polk County’s ARPA funds will go towards up to $20,000 in loan payments for 90 new mental health professionals. To be eligible, therapists must commit to work for 5 years at a Polk County community-based mental health provider, have a masters degree, and student loan debt....
Dr. Cathy Beck-Cross, LMSW, EdD, Associate Professor of Social Work at Grand View, is excited. "We are thrilled for this opportunity for Grand View master's degree graduates entering the workforce to provide mental health services. Polk County, like the rest of Iowa, has a shortage of licensed therapists, especially ones who are bilingual. Many thanks to County officials who moved this initiative forward, and to AMOS for their advocacy in the process."
This week, Polk County Supervisors approved AMOS' proposal to invest $1.8 million in ARPA funds to diversify and retain mental health providers through a scholarship and loan forgiveness program. This win is the result of over 10 months of organizing work including:
- Hundreds of conversations in Mental Health Civic Academies that surfaced workforce needs, including to fully staff the Children's Mental Health Crisis system AMOS worked so hard to secure
- A 'Mental Health Provider Summit' in December to understand providers' specific workforce needs and barriers
- 100+ AMOS leaders contacting Polk County supervisors in support of AMOS' mental health workforce proposal
- 4 AMOS leaders testifying at a Polk County Supervisors meeting to share the need for this investment, particularly for refugee and immigrant communities
- AMOS representation at mental health task force meetings by a First Unitarian leader
AMOS leaders plan to continue to work with Polk County to ensure that the funds are administered to maximize accessibility and impact.
The media ritual of the exit interview in which a journalist sits down for reflective conversation with a public figure leaving office or moving away shouldn't be confined only to elected officials or CEOs.Read more
Polk County Makes Progress on Juvenile Justice, Des Moines Register