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Last year 392 Iowans died by suicide, making it the 10th leading cause of death in the state.

Monday marks the start of National Suicide Prevention Week. Since many people know someone who has taken their own life, Pat McGovern of the Iowa Department of Public Health says this tragedy is a public health issue.

"One risk with suicide is something called contagion," says McGovern. "[If] someone in your social circle or your near community dies by suicide, it puts others at more risk." 

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Robin Williams's death has dominated news coverage in the past week. But how much of that coverage has been helpful and how much as been harmful?

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In January of 2011 when Ginnie Peters retired from the Perry Public Library, she was looking forward to spending more time with her husband, Matt, but she never really got the chance.

He died of suicide in May of that year.  “One day he told me he had torment in his head, and then the next day he was gone," she says. 

The two farmed 1500 acres between Perry and Panora, Iowa for most of their lives. Today, Peters blames the stress of planning for the future of her husband’s century farm for what happened. 

After Vern Beachy lost his wife to suicide, he began writing about what he was going through.  Not just about the difficulty of the loss but also his struggles with M.S. and his fight to get out of a wheelchair.  

To write A Tear-Stained Letter, Beachy says, "I took a knife to my heart and wrote about what fell out.”  In this interview, Beachy talks about it with host Charity Nebbe.

Emily Woodbury

More than half of the country’s teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber-bullying. Today on River To River, a discussion on bullying in Iowa. Host Ben Kieffer hears the story of a young Iowan who was bullied, who now uses that experience to help others going through the same. Jacob Stallman is a 17-year-old Tipton resident who was named the 2013 Spirit of Matthew Award winner by the Matthew Shepard Foundation for his community work to overcome bullying and homophobia.

NASA's Juno spacecraft passed within about 350 miles of Earth's surface this week, before slingshotting off into space on a historic exploration of Jupiter.

On this news buzz version of River to River, hear from a University of Iowa research engineer about Juno, and from the president of the University of Iowa Amateur Radio Club about why they waved to Juno electronically, as it whizzed by.

That, and many other items in our news worth buzzing about.

Rick Fredericksen / Iowa Public Radio

The Iowa National Guard has taken some significant casualties in recent months. Since late last year, five soldiers have taken their own lives. Three former members have also committed suicide.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention / Facebook

The last decade has seen a rise in suicide rates in the United States and several groups in Iowa are trying to do something about it. Host Ben Kieffer talks with several Iowans who are reaching out to those in danger of suicide, to family members who have experienced such a tragedy and a psychiatrist with advice on suicide prevention.