Organizers say Iowa is facing a public health and mental health crisis which must be addressed. Iowa closed two mental health care facilities last year and has consistently ranked near the bottom of all states for access to psychiatric beds.
Supporters hope the Sunday march start a new conversation about mental illness and mental health care access all across Iowa. Thousands of Iowans deal with mental health issues daily.
Among the speakers will be Joan Becker of Parkersburg, whose inspiring book, Sentenced To Life, Mental Illness,Tragedy and Transformation, takes a hard look at mental illness in Iowa. Her son. Mark Becker, is serving a life prison term in the 2009 murder of Coach Ed Thomas, and the role her son's mental illness played in the tragedy.