Iowa 988 Capacity Building Project
The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS), Division of Mental Health and Disability Services – Community (MHDS-C) is the applicant agency for the FY2022 Cooperative Agreement for States and Territories to Build Local 988 Capacity in Iowa. Iowa’s 988 State Planning Team, comprised of DHS and Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) staff, will collaborate with Iowa’s two Lifeline Network Centers (Lifeline Centers), CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank (CommUnity) and Foundation 2 Crisis Services (Foundation 2) to implement 988 in Iowa. Increasing Iowa’s capacity to answer 988 contacts originating from Iowa will improve answer rates in Iowa, ensure Iowa contacts are first routed to Iowa’s Lifeline Centers, and increase access to local behavioral health services. DHS will work with Iowa’s two Lifeline Centers to identify, recruit, hire, and train the needed behavioral health workforce for the successful implementation of 988.
Iowa’s target population is any Iowan experiencing a behavioral health crisis. Iowa anticipates 77,056 clients to be served through this grant, 30,100 during year one and 46,956 during year 2. During SFY2021, Iowa answered 10,975 calls originating from Iowa, for an answer rate of 67%. During FFY2021, Iowa answered 2,356 chats and 1,009 texts. Since chats and texts are not routed by location, it is unknown the number of chats and texts Iowa answered that were from Iowa. Vibrant Emotional Health estimates Iowa will handle 71,800 contacts including follow-up contacts between July 15, 2022, and June 30, 2023.
Iowa has been building a mental health crisis system for many years. Iowa’s 14 Mental Health and Disability Services Regions (MHDS Regions) develop and provide access to the following crisis services for adults: access centers, crisis evaluation, crisis stabilization community-based and residential services, mobile response, subacute services, 24-hour access to crisis response, and 23-hour crisis observation and holding; and the following crisis services for children: crisis stabilization community-based and residential services, and mobile response.
Iowa’s 988 State Planning Team facilitates ongoing communication with stakeholders on the development of the implementation of 988 in Iowa. Iowa’s 988 State Planning Team has received stakeholder feedback on areas to consider and focus on throughout 988 implementation.
Iowa will review contact metrics monthly, quarterly, and annually to continually assess in-state answer rate and identify areas of need (i.e., additional staff). During this review process, Iowa will also review contacts resulting in emergency rescue, suicide attempts in progress, and mobile crisis outreach referrals. This review of contact metrics will support the longevity of successful implementation and sustainability of 988 in Iowa.
Iowa’s Lifeline Centers work closely with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to ensure appropriate linkage to the Veterans Crisis Line occurs for veterans, service members, or their families upon request. Iowa will also provide attention to development of appropriate policies on intervention and follow-up through 988 for American Indians/Alaskan Natives (AI/AN). State-specific behavioral health data is not available for these populations, but nationally, have a higher-than-average suicide rate. Iowa received a Transformation Transfer Initiative (TTI) award in December 2021 which will be used to provide two standardized training toolkits for Iowa’s 988 and behavioral health crisis workforce specific to serving children and LGBTQ+ individuals.