Statewide Iowa — In July 2020, the Federal Communications Commission directed phone companies to implement 988 as the new toll-free nationwide suicide prevention hotline by July 16, 2022. The nationwide 988 crisis line will go active next month, providing help for people experiencing a mental health crisis.

Foundation 2 Crisis Services in Cedar Rapids is one of the two Iowa centers that will answer calls. CEO Emily Blomme tells KCRG TV she is concerned about meeting anticipated demand.

It’s estimated 71 thousand Iowans will call, chat or text 988 during the first 12 months of the launching of the new service. One of the biggest concerns is having enough staff.

The second Iowa center is CommUnity Crisis Services in Iowa City. If a call center in Iowa is not able to pick up — the call will be rerouted to a center in another state. While every call will be answered, Blomme says having them answered locally is ideal. She says about 87 percent of situations can be de-escalated over the phone, saving lives.

The 988 line goes active on July 16th. The current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number 1-800-273-8255 is still active for anyone who is struggling.

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