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"Kayak for Hope" event to raise awareness for mental health, suicide prevention

Posted at 3:14 PM, Sep 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-04 17:36:43-04

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and each year, a group of kayakers hits the water at Centennial Waterfront Park to raise awareness.

Idaho has the fifth-highest suicide rate in the entire country, and for the family behind organizing the event, the reason behind the event is personal.

"My sister actually passed away in 2011 from suicide," said Rachel Jensen, Vice President of the Dragonfly Hope Foundation.

RELATED: New hotline available for Idaho residents in need of support during the pandemic

After her sister died, Jensen and her family began the Dragonfly Hope Foundation and started organizing Kayak for Hope in her honor.

They want to do their best to make sure they can support those struggling.

"We literally are doing a memory for her, and not just kayak to kayak," Jensen said. "We need to carry on, not just for ourselves but for our families, for our loved ones. Sometimes you just need someone to talk to."

RELATED: Amid pandemic, national crisis hotline calls skyrocketed. What’s the story in Idaho?

The kayakers will start at Centennial Waterfront Park, and kayak all the way to Pillar Falls.

"It takes about two and a half hours to three hours to do the whole thing," Jensen said. "You get in your kayak and go under the bridge and around the snake to pillar falls, then we usually get out there and stretch out--then come back."

They're also raising money for suicide prevention and mental health awareness by selling t-shirts, bracelets, and are asking for donations.

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"We're really trying to get the word out there for other people to join us," Jensen said. "It is bringing people together and supporting a cause and something that needs to be changed."

The event kicks off Saturday morning, September 5, with a ceremony and then the kayaks will launch at 11:00 a.m.

If you or someone you know is struggling, please don't hesitate to reach out for help. Here's a list of mental health and addiction resources:

Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline:

Phone: (208) 398-4357

Website: https://www.idahosuicideprevention.org/

Veteran's Crisis Line:

Phone: 1 (800) 273-8255 (PRESS 1), or you can text: 838255 to get help from professionals, 24/7.

Website: https://www.boise.va.gov/

Crisis Hotline:

Phone: 208-788-3596

Website: http://thecrisishotline.org/

Marimn Health:

Phone: 208-686-1931

St. Luke's Psychiatric Wellness Clinic:

Phone: 208-706-6375

211 Idaho Careline:

Phone: Dial 211 or 1-800-926-2588

Code 4 Northwest:

Phone: 425-243-5092

Crisis Intervention:

Phone: 208-334-0808

Addiction hotline:

Phone: (888) 659-7510

Website: https://addictionresource.com/addiction-and-rehab-hotlines/idaho-numbers/

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare:

Website: https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/Medical/MentalHealth/tabid/103/Default.aspx

Phone lists: https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/ContactUs.aspx

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention