CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (Iowa's News Now) — As the national suicide prevention number, 988, nears rollout next month, Foundation 2 Crisis Services is working to educate individuals and meet the anticipated increase in service demand at a local level.
“Foundation 2 Crisis Services has been a part of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s network of providers since the inception of the line in 2004,” said Emily Blomme, Foundation 2 Chief Executive Officer. “The Lifeline is an integral part of our service array and we are excited to be a part of this transformational growth to better support Iowans.”
In 2020, Congress designated a three-digit 988 dialing code to be operated through the existing Suicide Prevention Lifeline to provide rapid, easy access to mental health support and suicide prevention and intervention services.
The transition involves hundreds of public and private partners nationwide – including Foundation 2 Crisis Services – to answer phone lines and crisis chats and texts rapidly and efficiently. The 988 transition will become active on July 16, 2022. All calls are free and confidential.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “988 is more than just an easy-to-remember number—it’s a direct connection to compassionate, accessible care and support for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress – whether that is thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress.”
All Iowa crisis calls through 988 will be routed through one of two accredited crisis response agencies statewide, including Foundation 2 Crisis Services. Vibrant Emotional Health, the organization that funds the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and 988, estimates Iowa agencies will handle 71,800 contacts, including follow-up services, between July 16, 2022, and June 30, 2023. This is an increase from 10,975 Lifeline calls in SFY2021.
These numbers do not include the 50,000+ contacts that Foundation 2 Crisis Services crisis counselors respond to annually through our established Foundation 2 Crisis Services crisis line or the statewide crisis line, Your Life Iowa.
Due to the expected increase in crisis contacts, Foundation 2 Crisis Services is hiring additional crisis counselors.
“We are excited to see our crisis services continue to grow and are working to meet that workforce demand,” Blomme said. “Our current focus is finding empathetic professionals with the right combination of education and experience to join our mission-minded team.”
Foundation 2 Crisis Services’ existing programs and services will continue, including the local crisis number (319-362-2174).