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Idaho brings back statewide suicide hotline

By Anusha Roy, KXLY4 Reporter, anushar@kxly.com
Published On: Nov 29 2012 09:09:17 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 29 2012 09:13:40 PM CST
Suicide Prevention hotline graphic
POST FALLS, Idaho -

Idaho has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation. It ranked fourth in 2010 when, at the time, the state was the only one in the United States that didn't have a statewide suicide prevention hotline. That's about to change however.

Idaho's statewide suicide hotline is making a come back after a five-year hiatus. The hotline fizzled out because of money and Idaho's suicide rate stayed high.

"We've been the only state in the nation for the last two years that didn't have our own," Catherine Perusse with the Suicide Prevention Action Network said.

Now that two years worth of funding has been secured through private funding and donations, the hotline is back up and running. Volunteers in Boise answer calls from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. If you call the state hotline after hours, it will go to the national hotline and someone will answer.

"We've needed this so badly. It will give a local voice to people in our state can talk to," Perusse said.

Previously, calls were routed to Portland, but it was tough to give the right referrals because that center isn't as familiar with the resources in Idaho.  Now the Suicide Prevention Action Network has compiled a list of resources like counselors for 247 Idaho towns.

"Food banks, medical care, all of those things can play into it. There are options and resources through out our state. That's the kind of information that Boise is going to have," Perusse said.

The Post Falls Police Department already launched a successful chaplain program and is also working with the Post Falls school district, but they welcome this new tool because it's another way to say there is hope.

"Anything we can do to save someone's life or potentially save someone's life is an excellent tool and an excellent idea," Captain Pat Knight with the Post Falls Police Department said.

The Post Falls police always encourage people to call them.

The Suicide Prevention Lifeline's number is 1-800-273-8255. You can also visit http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org for more information.

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