Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline in need of volunteers

Posted at 10:32 PM, Aug 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-28 00:32:21-04

September is suicide prevention month.

There's a massive increase in calls for help as the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline looking for some willing volunteers who have some extra free time and are good listeners.

Their Fall training for volunteer crisis phone responders is coming up.

The group has seen more than a 40 percent increase in call volume and volunteers are needed more than ever.

The hotline provides crisis intervention, emotional support and resource referrals to Idahoans. 

Kristin Coltrin is working on her masters in social work and is a volunteer for the organization.

She wanted to do it because her brother tried to commit suicide.  

"I was an adult. He was my younger brother so it has affected me but whenever you have sad things happen in your family, that's a trauma and and you're thinking about how you could make things better or what you could do," said Kristin Coltrin, Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline volunteer. 

It was an experience that made her want to help others going through the same thing. 

The phones are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

"We're just seeing a lot more crisis calls and crisis texts and chats coming in," said John Reusser, director, Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline. 

Reusser says several factors are contributing to more calls including more awareness of the hotline.

"We had a really really smokey couple months here and there's just all sorts of change going on and politics and the economy and people need support," said Reusser. 

Coltrin says they've even noticed more teenagers calling in since the start of school. 

With that volume and a shortage of people to help, the organization needs more volunteers. 

"I know the night time shifts really really need some more people. They just get overwhelmed and they don't have enough and the numbers just keep going up ever since I've been here. Every month has just steadily increased in the amount of callers that we're getting," said Coltrin. 

Coltrin says it's something she wouldn't change for the world. 

"It helps you to just be more aware of what's going on around you and to treat people with kindness and respect." 

Candidates must be 18 or older and be able to pass a background check. Applications are due September 14th and training begins two weeks later.

You can sign up here,