Sunday was World Suicide Prevention Day and Iowa health officials are working to raise awareness about the free, confidential, round-the-clock help that’s available through the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Julie Maas, Iowa’s 988 project director, says they’re focusing not just on the state’s larger cities, but also remote areas.
The Lifeline was launched in July of last year and has since had contacts with more than 40,000 people across Iowa, most of them through phone calls but some via text or chat.
Suicide is the ninth leading cause of death in Iowa, but it’s number-two for those between the ages of 10 and 35. Roughly one in five people who reach out to the Lifeline in Iowa are considering taking their own lives. The rest may be experiencing some sort of crisis, which can range from having a car that won’t start to being diagnosed with cancer.
A report released in May from Trust for America’s Health shows 549 Iowans died by suicide in 2021, which is a drop of 3% from the year before.