Just when we thought we couldn’t grow any faster, we have done just that, in both our food bank and crisis intervention programs.
In fiscal year 2018, we completed the expansion of our food bank warehouse.
Also in FY18, we embarked on a new endeavor to expand our ability to reach Iowans in crisis.
Last fall, we learned that the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is only able to respond to 9 percent of incoming chats. This means that, nationally, 91 percent of people experiencing a mental health crisis receive no response. We cannot accept this. We have to ensure Iowans are receiving the help they need. In response, we began doing outreach to schools and organizations across the state, letting them know The Crisis Center is here for ALL Iowans.
To respond to an increased volume of chats, we developed an online training for new volunteers. This allows us to recruit and train crisis chat volunteers from every corner of the state. A small training class of about 10 volunteers has started the trial version of the online training.
We have developed partnerships with two private colleges: St. Ambrose University in Davenport and Briar Cliff University in Sioux City. Both schools, after seeing what we’ve accomplished with the University of Iowa community, recognize that our volunteer program is an excellent professional development opportunity for their students. We are excited to see how these partnerships develop and what other schools will partner with us in the future.
Almost 50 years ago now, when The Crisis Center was first launched by two UI students looking to increase the options available to those in need of mental health support, they never could have anticipated the reach of the organization. They laid the foundation and created services in a community where there were almost none.
Their success has provided a model for the work we are doing next; sharing mental health resources across the state of Iowa, community by community, when people need it most.
Thank you for your part in The Crisis Center’s journey,
Becci Reedus, Executive Director
Chris Catney, FY18 Board Chair