BOISE, Idaho — Idaho has the fifth-highest suicide rate in the country and since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline (ISPH) has seen a slight uptick in the number of Idahoans reaching out for help. Now, the hotline is partnering with Terry Reilly Health Services to cut down on the number of suicide deaths in the Gem State.
Since the start of the pandemic, Terry Reilly CEO Heidi Hart says staff at clinics around the Treasure Valley are seeing patients struggling with several suicidal risk factors.
“We recognize that many of our families and our patients are struggling with financial insecurity, housing insecurity, food insecurity, and when you layer all of that on top of social isolation, we’re really worried about people trying to commit suicide or die by suicide," said Hart.
Terry Reilly applied for a federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration. In August, they heard they were awarded $752,000 for a 16-month program to partner with ISPH to prevent suicide in Idaho during the pandemic.
"Suicide is one of the greatest risks we're seeing in individuals as we deal with the prolonged stress of COVID in our community," Hart says.
The money will mostly cover costs for training. Staff from the hotline will work with Terry Reilly employees, teaching them how to spot warning signs in their patients.
“It’s just to really build on the expertise the Terry Reilly clinical staff already have, and to increase the clinical awareness and understanding of suicide prevention and the Zero Suicide approach," said Lee Flinn, Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline director.
They will also learn how to help patients with safety planning to make sure they are accessing the right services. Staff will also learn how to work with family members so they can provide meaningful support to a person within their family system, so a whole spectrum of training will be available.
After the initial contact, staff from ISPH can assist Terry Reilly with follow up care, to make sure their patients stay on the right track.
If you or someone you know is struggling, please don't hesitate to reach out for help. Here's a list of resources:
Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline:
Phone: (208) 398-4357
Veteran's Crisis Line:
Phone: 1 (800) 273-8255 (PRESS 1), or you can text: 838255 to get help from professionals, 24/7.
St. Luke's Psychiatric Wellness Clinic:
211 Idaho Careline:
Phone: Dial 211 or 1-800-926-2588
Code 4 Northwest:
Phone: (888) 659-7510
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare:
Phone lists: https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/ContactUs.aspx