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.