Idaho's only suicide hotline to launch on Monday
Jennifer Auh gives a preview of the only Idaho's only Suicide Prevention Hotline. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
Idaho will soon launch its own suicide prevention hotline, the only state where that's been missing, since 2006. The Gem State has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation, so this resource could prove vital to Idahoans.
The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline (ISPH) will be Idaho's only statewide suicide prevention hotline. It will launch and volunteers will take calls starting on Monday at 1 p.m.
“It's a way for people to reach other, who don't really have other supports. We really want to help people, before they get to that point, where they are seriously at risk for suicide," said John Reusser, ISPH Executive Director.
Previously, the calls from Idahoans to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline were transferred to hotlines in other states. With the launch of the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline, all of the calls from Idaho will be taken by ISPH.
Now volunteers from Idaho hope to better relate to those struggling in our state. "Our phone workers are from Idaho, so they will better understand problems that Idahoans are facing. With a rural population, there is a sense of isolation," said Reusser.
Idaho's previous suicide prevention hotline closed in 2006, due to a lack of funding. Since then, Idaho has been the only state in the country without a statewide suicide hotline.
Idaho has one of the country's highest suicide rates. Those at a higher risk include military veterans, soldiers and their families, persons dealing with job loss or financial strain, teenage boys, farmers, Native Americans and Idaho's elder males.
Suicide prevention hotlines are a proven means to help prevent tragic deaths. Last month, around 400 Idaho residents made calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
ISPH (1-800-273-TALK) will initially operate Monday through Thursday, 9a.m. - 5p.m., with Fridays being added next year, as more volunteers are trained.
Volunteers and donors are needed to keep the hotline moving forward. For more information about ISPH, go to IdahoSuicidePrevention.org.
The following people have shown an immense support for the new hotline: Sen. Elect Marv Hagedorn, a key supporter of funding for the Hotline while serving as a Representative in the Idaho Legislature; David Brasuell, Administrator of the Idaho Division of Veteran's Services, a major funder of the Hotline; Landis Rossi, United Way Executive Committee Member and Catholic Charities of Idaho Executive Director; Peter Wollheim, Member of both the SPAN Idaho Board and the Idaho Council on Suicide Prevention; and Linda Peterson, mother of Jeret "Speedy" Peterson, and founder of the Speedy Foundation, established in Jeret's honor.
The Idaho Division of Veteran's Services, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, United Way, the Speedy Foundation and Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation are among the many funders and partners that stepped up to get ISPH going.