In the Spring of 2017, I stepped in to W332 in the Adler Journalism Building for a typical day of class. Then my dad called. I ignored it once. My sister texted me, asking if I’d talked to him. He called again. I stepped out of class, knowing something was wrong, and barely made it down the hall before I sunk to the floor, stifling sobs. He told me my cousin had died by suicide the night before.
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.
Teague started to isolate himself down in the basement of his home. First, he was unable to eat or sleep, then just living became even more difficult. He started losing weight and he even went without sleeping for nine days straight.
He began to dream of jumping off a bridge, feeling that it would be “easier to be gone than to be a failure.” That’s when Teague called The Crisis Center’s crisis line for the first time.