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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Buena Vista County mental health advocate receives top state award

Friday, June 1, 2012

For the past 22 years, Charlene Anderson has gone above and beyond when it comes to advocating for mental health patients across Buena Vista County.

"Char is an asset who has no qualms advocating for someone," said CPC Dawn Mentzer during the May 22 Buena Vista County supervisors meeting. "She's a fighter on behalf of mental health."

While Anderson has quietly gone as far as to provide meals and gas money for needy clients, her good deeds have not gone unnoticed. Earlier this year, she was honored with the appointment of Judicial Mental Health Advocate of the Year during a state meeting.

Solid support from county agencies has been instrumental in her success.

"I wouldn't have been here this many years without the Board," she explained. "The county does a good job of caring for the mentally ill."

Iowa's public mental health services care for a wide range of individuals, from those with developmental or intellectual disabilities to those with more severe illnesses, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

However, in her experience, other counties often do not function as smoothly when it comes to public mental health services. Clients endure long waiting lists and county agencies bicker amongst themselves, she said.

With major changes in the works for the state mental health system, she will be reluctantly retiring at the end of the year.

"I hate to," she said of her retirement. "But if the state takes over, I don't want to fight with them. The county is already doing such a wonderful job."

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