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September is National Suicide Prevention Month

(Radio Iowa) September is National Suicide Prevention Month. First responders are often on the front line when someone is struggling. Those struggles can occur 24/7 and it’s a need that can’t be put off to tomorrow to make a call. Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper is a firm believer that it is ok, to not be ok.

“You know, all of us can be susceptible to difficult times, and we can go through difficult things in our lives. Sometimes depression and other things can be a real issue we have to address. We need to remove the stigma of mental illness,” Tupper says. He says we have to remember it’s a medical issue. Tupper says his department has already responded to 100 calls directly related to mental health this year, and adds that doesn’t include calls about fights, drunkenness, drug abuse, and other behavior that is mental health-related. One of the issues, says Tupper is funding.

“Quite frankly there is plenty of state mandates and federal government mandates that end up requiring local entities like the City of Marshalltown and the Marshalltown Police Department to have to deal with these issues. We provide our cops with a lot of mental health training, but they are still not mental health professionals,” according to Tupper. If you or someone you know is struggling and thinking about hurting themselves, here are two numbers to keep in mind: the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255; or Iowa Crisis Services at 855-581-8111.

(By Ken Huge, KFJB, Marshalltown)

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