Efforts to tackle youth mental health are behind a new clinic in Iowa City

The consensus is clear: Iowa youth need help dealing with mental health.

At least, that’s the message from a panel of University of Iowa experts.

This fall, Iowa City will see the opening of a new mental health clinic at the school at 125 Dubuque Street, employees of the Iowa Center for School Mental Health announced during the Iowa Board of Governors meeting Thursday.

The clinic is a component of the K-12 UI Mental Health Center that was announced statewide last summer. Besides clinical care, it aims to improve mental health through methods such as research and teacher training.

“Our hope is that we will be able to go to schools after a crisis or trauma, and be able to interview students and staff — who are in need — to provide some of that immediate support,” Alyssa Dubay, director of clinical services for ICSMH, told the judges on Thursday.

Members of the Iowa Center for School Mental Health present to the Iowa Board of Governors Thursday at the University of Iowa campus.

Dubay described the need for counseling in Iowa as “unfounded”.

16% of Iowa residents ages 12 to 17 have a mental health disorder, an ICSMH staff told governors, but less than half are receiving treatment.

Meanwhile, a 2021 statewide survey He found nearly one in four 11th graders in Iowa, or 24%, reported an attempted suicide in the past year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents in Iowa.