County supervisors are allocating almost $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds
toward the program, which looks to increase access to services, especially for communities of
color, and address the shortage of mental health workers in the county...
Called the Mental Health Workforce Initiative, the program is seeking to help 90 new mental
health therapists pay up to $20,000 of their student loan payments.
...The county's efforts stem from a partnership with A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy, an
organization with members from local faith congregations, neighborhood groups and
nonprofits. Over the last few years, organization leaders have sought to address the lack of
mental health workers after crisis mental health services for county children were delayed...
From there, AMOS held listening sessions for county residents and learned of their need "for
more mental health workers with lived experiences and language skills to support racially
and linguistically diverse" people...
“Our staff was filled with joy when we received news of these funds,” said Anne Starr, chief
executive director of Orchard Place, a youth mental health provider in Des Moines. “This
investment is going to save lives.”
With a goal to reach people of color, Polk County looks to hire 90 mental health counselors, Des Moines Register [pdf]