Mental health patients coping with bed shortage - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Mental health patients coping with bed shortage

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Iowa is nearly last in the nation when it comes to resources for patients needing mental health care.

Reports released from last year and this year indicate that information.

Meantime, a Waterloo family is looking to help their 13-year-old daughter, dealing with depression.

After they went to the hospital, they learned there was nothing they could do locally, because beds and other mental health care resources were tapped out.

"I guess I didn't really think much of it, until it happened to me," Danielle Young-Kruger said.

Danielle cares for five children, including her immediate children and step-children.

She said she was shocked to learn her 13-year-old daughter, Aspen, couldn't get the proper in-patient treatment she needed to treat her depression in Waterloo or nearby.

"These are signs, saying 'our kids need help,' and how are we supposed to help them when we don't have the resources even locally," Danielle said.

Danielle says her first stop with her daughter was the Emergency Room of a nearby hospital.

Even though the social worker was helpful, she says she was frustrated to learn the closest available resources would be several hours away in Sioux City.

"It's very frustrating, even with family sessions. I'm going to have to do it over the phone. I can't pack everybody and go to Sioux City and stay there. I don't know how long she is going to be there," Danielle said.

As Aspen receives treatment hours from home, lawmakers are finding ways to utilize Iowa's few mental health care resources.

"So, we had a system that we implemented last year, that is a bed-tracking system. It's a real-time bed-tracking system where mental health professionals across the state will know how many beds are available and where they're at," Republican Iowa State Representative Walt Rogers said.

"And, I'm proud to be from Iowa, but I couldn't believe we were pretty much last," Danielle said.

.Danielle is a student at the University of Northern Iowa.

She said she has too much going on with her family and school to be in Sioux City, while Aspen undergoes treatment.

For now, she talks to her daughter on the phone a few times a day.

Please stay with KWWL on-air and online as we continue to report the mental health care bed shortage problem in the coming weeks.

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