# Mental Health



Problems with 988 crisis hotline start-up

Steve Corbin is emeritus professor of marketing at the University of Northern Iowa and a freelance writer who receives no remuneration, funding, or endorsement from any for-profit business, nonprofit organization, political action committee, or political party.

Most people have memorized their Social Security number, cell phone number, anniversary, birthday and the 911 emergency medical, fire and police protection services number. On July 16, the number “988” became an easy-to-remember crisis hotline number we should log into our memory bank.

Anyone who needs support for a suicidal, mental health, substance use crisis, or other emotional issue can dial or text 988. The nationwide set-up should strengthen and expand the existing Lifeline system, which is a national network of more than 200 local, independent and state-funded crisis centers.

Both the new 988 hotline number and the previous ten-digit number (800-273-8255) will remain in operation, providing 24/7 free and confidential support for people in distress.

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For PTSD Awareness Month, veterans need allies and advocates

David Farwell of Spillville, Iowa is a service-connected PTSD disabled veteran and activist for veteran health services as owed to them by law.  

I’ve moved 49 times in 50 years, which is not surprising for a military brat and former global project leader at an international corporation.  

What may be surprising is why my last move was from a Chicago high-rise to Spillville, Iowa, and how an invisible epidemic shattered my life, ended my career and brought me to the tiny town in Iowa where Dvorak completed his New World Symphony.

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Linn County supervisors approve conversion therapy ban

The Linn County Board of Supervisors voted on June 13 to “prohibit any efforts by service providers to change sexual orientation and/or gender identity of minors, including conversion and reparative therapy,” in unincorporated areas of the county.

“Conversion therapy” refers to efforts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and has been widely discredited as ineffective and traumatizing for youth. Associations representing medical professionals, counselors, and therapists have denounced the practice for many years.

Supervisor Stacey Walker led efforts to pass the ordinance, and Supervisor Ben Rogers (also a Democrat) provided the second vote in favor. When the board considered the third and final reading, Walker said the policy “will save lives” and described it as “a moral imperative for all policymakers who take seriously their job of protecting the health and welfare of the people.”

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Cheerful cruelty belies governor's concern over kids' mental health

Self-awareness has never been Governor Kim Reynolds’ strong suit.

So it was that just this week, Reynolds asserted in an interview with the Des Moines Register that mental health “has been so important to me.” The governor lamented the pressures kids have faced over the past two years, “the depression, the anxiety,” adding, “We’ve seen suicide rates among young girls up over 50 percent” during the COVID-19 pandemic. She bragged about “working on mental health for five years” and “standing up a children’s mental health system.”

You’d never guess she just signed a bill that is guaranteed to increase depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation among some of Iowa’s most vulnerable youth.

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Dare we hope

Ira Lacher: We need to pursue hope, and we must prioritize it over our other base emotions such as doubt, fear, and anger.

On a day when the news is filled with record COVID-19 infections, the anniversary of a revolt against American democracy, societal lawlessness, and myriad other ills of our time, it would be facile to begin 2022 with a screed about how lousy it sucks to be us.

Not going to happen.

Rather, on this occasion, at least, I leave it to others to begin 2022 by submerging their keyboards in despair. To paraphrase a speech from Captain James T. Kirk, “We can admit we’ve been doomsayers, but we’re not going to doomsay today.”

Today, let’s speak of hope. Of optimism. Of ways to take comfort of the undeniable miracle we call existence.

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America is mentally ill. Let's treat it

One in four American adults believe the 2020 presidential election was “stolen.” One in four say they won’t get a COVID vaccine. About one in five Americans believe one or more QAnon conspiracy theories.

But it is interesting how closely those numbers correlate with this one: Nearly one in five Americans (52 million) “live with a mental illness.”

The evidence is mounting that our dysfunctional politics are the result of mass mental illness.

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