Franklin County Community Resource Center Provides Wide Ranging Mental Health Assistance


By Greg Forbes, Hampton Chronicle

Franklin County Community Resource Center strives to provide area residents with social services needed to navigate the ever-changing world of mental health care.

The Resource Center offers four major services that help people address issues with mental health, disabilities and substance use. Those main services are disability services coordination, general assistance, substance abuse/addiction services and Central Iowa Community Services (CICS). Through disability services coordination, resource center staff helps people with disabilities receive an individualized plan to ensure they can achieve empowerment and community integration.

General Assistance allows qualified people the chance to receive financial help with life essentials such as obtaining prescription medication, rent payments, transportation and more. People seeking General Assistance must meet financial hardship guidelines.

Substance Abuse/Addiction Services allows individuals the chance to seek detoxification services.

One of the main programs in which the resource center participates is CICS, an 11 county region that provides support for mental health patients. CICS’s range is far reaching, as it provides access to therapy, community drop-in centers, a 24-hour crisis line, mobile crisis response and more at no cost to an individual. They also will help link an individual with outpatient psychiatry and therapy services, find supported living centers or facilities, help build job skills to assist with the job search process and provide other services such as home health aides, transportation to complete routine tasks and respite.

Russell Wood, community services director, said an extremely valuable aspect of CICS is the crisis response line. The hotline is available around the clock and staffed by a trained operator. The operator has information on Franklin County services and can refer a caller if need be. “A crisis is different for different people,” he said. “If you’re in a crisis and you’re not sure what to do, they can talk to you, they can refer you on to somebody and they can also send out our mobile crisis response team.” He added that the crisis line number can also be used to send and receive text messages.

Robin McKee, services coordinator for Franklin County Community Resource Center, said that the line is valuable because it is operated by real people and is easy to navigate. “Real-life people answer that phone,” she said. “It’s live people that we have given them all of the information pertaining to Franklin County so if you call from here, they have the information they would be able pull up the information where you’re at and help you navigate.”

The mobile response team, Wood said, consists of two trained professionals that will help an individual with an issue wherever he or she may be in the time of a crisis. “They will go wherever a person happens to be to try to help with whatever the situation is right then and there,” he said.

Community services and CICS work together with area medical professionals to ensure that people with a crisis receive the help they need in a timely fashion. Wood said that they have a licensed therapist and a med prescriber that keep appointment times open should an individual need services on short notice. Franklin General Hospital will refer to a crisis stabilization unit in Woodward or Waterloo. Wood added that CICS provides transportation through Central Iowa Juvenile Detention out of Eldora to and from one of the crisis stabilization centers if people are unable to transport themselves.

Also at the hospital, McKee said, is the telehealth service, where an on-call psychologist can speak with a patient over the computer to help an individual determine what services he or she may need.

Overall, Wood said that Franklin County Community Services Center provides help with vocational services, residential services, jail diversion, outpatient services and some inpatient services. Wood said that the Franklin County Community Resource Center’s wide focus is because of the limited resources in the area. He said anyone, regardless of income level, can make an appointment with the center to receive consultation for possible services they may need. “We staff so that we have access to an individual,” he said. “Having a person here, someone can come in and talk to a live person who understands the system and someone that can help work through that.”

“Our intent is that when you walk in this building and need the help, that if we can’t help you, we know exactly the name and agency to guide you to so you aren’t bouncing all over,” added McKee.