Saturday, September 24, 2022


The health-care subsidy extension a relief for small businesses; Consumer groups press for a bill to reform credit reporting; and an international group aims to transform how people view peace and conflict.


Condemnation of Russian war on Ukraine continues at the U.N, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says there's need for worker training to rebuild Puerto Rico, the House takes on record corporate profits while consumers struggle with inflation.


The Old Farmer's Almanac predicts two winters across the U.S., the Inflation Reduction Act could level the playing field for rural electric co-ops, and pharmacies are dwindling in rural America.

National Suicide Line Gets Makeover; IA Ready for 988 Launch


Thursday, July 14, 2022   

Just like 911, organizers behind the new three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) hope it becomes easy to remember for the public.

The switch to 988 happens Saturday, with preparation ramping up in states, including Iowa. The NSPL takes calls 24/7 from those experiencing a mental-health, substance-use or suicide crisis.

The Federal Communications Commission and Congress authorized the change to its new number.

Drew Martel is director of crisis services for the Foundation 2 Crisis Center, one of two locations in the state that will keep staffing the service for Iowans who call. He said it coincides with Americans being more open about addressing mental health.

"There's a de-stigma campaign that's been going on that's been increasing calls into the line," Martel noted. "People feel more comfortable reaching out."

The line has grown to more than three million calls and texts per year. A trained counselor will talk to the person and determine if a crisis response is needed. The federal government has helped with initial funding to enhance the service, but Martel acknowledged Iowa is one of many states needing to establish sustainable resources to handle demand in the future.

Martel pointed out the switch to 988 could divert people experiencing a crisis away from unnecessary hospitalizations and encounters with the criminal-justice system.

"We know 911 has been quite successful," Martel stated. "But what that has led to is our law enforcement officers being the front line of mental-health response in the United States"

Around Iowa, jurisdictions have crisis response teams which can include a mental-health professional paired with law enforcement, a professional responding on their own, or police trained in crisis intervention.

Groups such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness note not all of Iowa has a formal unit, while adding 80% of calls can be managed in the field. Meanwhile, Iowa also operates its own statewide crisis line, Your Life Iowa. Like the national line, Your Life Iowa has experienced higher demand.

get more stories like this via email
Nonprofit organizations employed nearly 30,000 Montanans in 2019. (Artur/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The work of some nonprofit organizations has only increased with the pandemic and the needs that have come from it. An author and expert in the field …

Social Issues

By Lourdes Medrano for Yes! Media. Broadcast version by Mark Richardson for Arizona News Connection, reporting for the YES! Media-Public News Service …

Social Issues

Hispanic Heritage Month began in mid-September and runs through Oct. 15, and a financial institution in Washington state is finding unique ways to …

Fans of solitude say the route density in Labyrinth Canyon can make it difficult to escape the noise of motorized vehicles. (Bureau of Land Management)


Conservation groups say more needs to be done to protect the natural and cultural resources of Utah's Labyrinth Canyon from off-road vehicles…

Social Issues

Despite being aimed at children in kindergarten through third grade, Florida teachers say what's often referred to as the "Don't Say Gay" law has …

U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., says she plans to call a legislative hearing on the practices of credit reporting agencies. (Kalafoto/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Consumer groups are pressing for legislation to reform the way credit agencies handle errors on credit reports. The calls to amend the Fair Credit …


A relatively small number of so-called "super emitters" are responsible for 40% of the methane emissions in oil and gas hotspots such as California's …

Social Issues

As "Banned Books Week" comes to a close, Connecticut libraries have been celebrating with great fervor - despite numerous book bans and challenges…


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021