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Airline travel and more disrupted by global tech outage; Nevada gets OK to sell federal public lands for affordable housing;Science Moms work to foster meaningful talks on climate change; Scientists reconsider net-zero pledges to reach climate goals.

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As Trump accepts nomination for President, delegates emphasize themes of unity and optimism envisioning 'new golden age.' But RNC convention was marked by strong opposition to LGBTQ rights, which both opened and closed the event.

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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: UT answers 94% of mental health crisis calls

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Wednesday, July 3, 2024   

Two years since Congress designated the new 988 National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, a new report examined each states' progress and found Utah has fared well in terms of responsiveness.

The mental health advocacy group Inseparable found Utah's 988 call answer rate was 94%.

Angela Kimball, chief advocacy officer for Inseparable, said the report is intended to spark conversations about what is needed at the state level to ensure those who find themselves in mental health emergencies can get the crucial help they need.

"One of the pieces that we focus a lot on is sustainable financing," Kimball explained. "We recognize that crisis services are something that ought to be available to everyone, 24/7, regardless of their ability to pay, just like we expect fire trucks to come if there's a fire."

Kimball acknowledged while Congress has provided federal funding to help improve capacity at local and regional call centers, the funding will not last forever. She contended state lawmakers should consider alternative funding sources instead of relying heavily on Medicaid. According to Inseparable, a possible solution could be enacting a 988 surcharge to generate up to $3.2 million annually in Utah.

The report showed Utah's administrative rules are solid, with certification requirements for crisis workers and statewide crisis line standards. Kimball noted it streamlines protocol and strengthens workforce capacity. She added the consequences of not having the appropriate response system in place can have real-life implications.

"People going without help, being turned on to the streets, being in jail, being in emergency departments, being hospitalized -- voluntarily or involuntarily -- or tragically, having their life end," Kimball observed.

Kimball argued with the right approach, people can get on the path to recovery. While Utah has established an advisory board for the hotline and requires annual reporting, the report suggested the state would benefit from better system coordination and data collection.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, call or text 988.

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


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