Iowa's Mental Health "First Responders"

Iowa lawmakers and Governor Kim Reynolds set aside more than $2 million last month to address children's mental health.

For years, area educators have expressed concerns over mental health behaviors with their students.

The AEA works directly with school districts. And Cashman said she also worked with lawmakers for mental health training.

“We will have trainers ready to go in August - so just a couple of months-- and we will do the training for as long as it takes for this youth mental health first aid,” Cashman said.

It's designed for educators at all grade levels, so teachers can spot those struggling with mental health.

"We're not trying to turn all of our educators into mental health professional but we do want to provide a baseline knowledge for all of our educators so when they're in schools they're first responders,” Cashman said.

And then connect that child with area resources, like Foundation 2. Counselors there are aware of rising suicide rates.

Last fall the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released numbers that suicide increased more than 30 percent in Iowa over the last 17 years.

Counselors say parents should also ask for help if their child is struggling.

And if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide, please seek help. There are numbers available 24 hours a day: 319-362-2174 or 1-800-332-4224.

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