There was no one, easy solution presented at Gov. Terry Branstad's bullying summit this week. Nor did we expect one. As the community of Marshalltown has learned this year, it takes many different avenues to influence the many different people impacted by bullying.
But we do believe the governor announced a solid initiative in bullying and suicide prevention.
Branstad announced Tuesday the launch of a new resource - Your Life Iowa. This hotline and website, funded by the Iowa Department of Public Health in partnership with Boys Town, the Iowa Youth Advisory Committee and the Iowa Department of Education, will provide help 24/7.
Trained counselors will offer support and guidance to bullied youth who feel they have run out of options. Your Life Iowa works by calling, texting or visiting its website, and is an asset not only for kids but parents and educators.
A common statistic says that more than half of bullied youth silently deal with bullying all alone. They won't report the problem to a teacher, parent or other adult.
We think the hotline offers an outlet for students who might feel that an adult won't take them seriously. Or one who feels too embarrassed to discuss it with a parent. Or the dozens of other reasons that prevent children from talking about the issue.
Your Life Iowa
Text: "TALK" to 85511
Further, Your Life Iowa provides counseling to parents who want to do everything they can to support a child being bullied. The website also provides resources and information to educators, schools and community members.
We know there are no easy fixes when it comes to bullying. However there are ways to make strides. Branstad showed the way by opening up a statewide conversation about bullying with his summit. The work will need to continue with legislators and in our classrooms and communities.