Tuesday, September 27, 2022

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Massachusetts steps up for Puerto Rico, the White House convenes its first hunger conference in more than 50 years, and hydroponics could be the future of tomatoes in California.

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Arizona's Sen. Kyrsten Simema defends the filibuster, the CBO says student loan forgiveness could cost $400 billion, and whistleblower Edward Snowden is granted Russian citizenship.

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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.

New 988 National Suicide Hotline Complements CA Efforts

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Tuesday, July 19, 2022   

Starting now, people contemplating suicide or families experiencing a mental health crisis can call 988 instead of 911, and get the help they need.

The new 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline funnels callers to 13 mental health agencies across the state. Trained operators can connect people with suicide crisis counseling and mental-health de-escalation counseling over the phone.

Dr. Lisa Pion-Berlin, president and CEO of Parents Anonymous, which runs the California Parent and Youth Helpline, applauds the effort.

"They're also trying to avoid police intervention," Pion-Berlin pointed out. "They want a mental-health intervention, because when we've had police intervention, they're not trained to handle mental-health problems and some tragedy happens."

Many jurisdictions, including Los Angeles County, will dispatch a mobile crisis team to the scene, if appropriate. If a family issue is less urgent, the Lifeline has already begun passing callers along to the California Parent and Youth Helpline. The number, which people can call or text, is 855-427-2736.

Dr. Pion-Berlin explained Parents Anonymous launched the California Parent and Youth Helpline in 2020 to connect families with trained counselors and free online support groups.

"They call us because they want to talk to us as a parent," Pion-Berlin observed. "Or they are having an emotional meltdown because their child is acting out, or they got kicked out of school, or they got arrested. You can call us."

The state of California is spending $20 million to support the 988 Lifeline in the Golden State. The new state budget funds the California Parent and Youth Helpline at $1.6 million a year for three years.

Disclosure: Parents Anonymous contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Family/Father Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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