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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

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Trump running mate Vance to deliver 'the most important speech' of his career at Republican convention tonight; Alabama group receives grant to boost FAFSA submissions; Bilingual, multicultural staff needed for NJ addiction treatment; Toledo plant to manufacture EVs with federal funding.

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The Republican National Convention connects crime to migration. Kari Lake and delegates from Texas, Florida, and California talk about border issues. Desantis pokes fun at President Biden and Nikki Haley gives the night's big speech.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Report: Most of KY’s 988 crisis hotline calls answered locally

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Tuesday, July 2, 2024   

More households, workplaces and schools are struggling with mental-health crises, and a new report by the mental-health advocacy group Inseparable highlights how Kentucky is handling 988 crisis hotline calls and responses.

Congress passed legislation in 2020 establishing 988 as a nationwide three-digit number to access crisis resources, and the number went live in 2022. Kentucky's call center response rate is 85%.

Marcie Timmerman, executive director of Mental Health America of Kentucky, said Kentucky is at an advantage because most calls are answered by someone in the state, staffed by people affiliated with community mental health centers who have specialized training.

"They're all trained in understanding the basics, but they're also trained in how to help callers without involving law enforcement as much as possible, right? And less than 2% of calls end up in a law-enforcement response," she said.

According to reporting by the healthcare organization KFF, Kentucky's age-adjusted suicide rate was higher than the national level in 2021. Suicide deaths have increased fastest among people of color, younger individuals and people who live in rural areas.

Timmerman added you don't have to be the person in distress in order to call 988. Close friends, family, and concerned neighbors can make calls.

"And with substance use, specifically, as long as someone's medically OK, 988 is a great option. So, you can open up the doors to all of those resources that are available for treatment," she explained.

Angela Kimball, chief advocacy officer for Inseparable, said states can built strong crisis response systems, but will need to look beyond Medicaid for funding. She says state legislators can take steps to bolster services, noting the consequences of not addressing the issue will result in people going without help, landing in jail and emergency rooms, being hospitalized or worse.

"One in five fatal police shootings involve someone with mental illness," Kimball said. "So, too often we see, really, a tragic outcome when people don't get the right help at a less severe level, we see a lot of people who end up in crowded emergency departments."

The report said additional funding opportunities could come from a 988 telecom surcharge to support crisis lines, as well as, utilizing a federal program under the American Rescue Plan that allows states to receive extra funding for mobile response services for three years.

Disclosure: Inseparable contributes to our fund for reporting on Criminal Justice, Health Issues, Mental Health, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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