BOISE — Idaho has another tool to help people during a suicidal crisis.
A simple three-digit telephone call to 211 will connect the person to the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline.
“For years, I have wanted a three-digit number for the suicide hotline in Idaho,” said Sen. Fred Martin, an advocate for addressing Idaho’s suicide crisis, during a news conference Tuesday at the Idaho Capitol. Idaho has one of the highest suicide rates in the country.
“The statistics about Idaho and suicide, it is something that none of us are proud of,” Idaho Gov. Brad Little said during the news conference.
“We have to continue to do all these incremental things to help with mental illness challenges all over the state of Idaho, whether they be grade school kids or senior citizens and everybody in between.
“Obviously if you are in crisis, having a 27-digit number is probably not a good idea.”
The 211 Idaho Care Line is a toll-free, statewide, health and human services information and referral service program of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
Under a new partnership between 211 Care Line and the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline, dialing 211 will get someone in crisis connected directly.
“Before this change, if someone did call the 211 Idaho Care Line and the operator perceived that individual was in suicide crisis, they had to give the hotline number to the person, encourage them to call that number and then hang up on them,” Martin said, noting that is not acceptable to hotline workers or for the person in crisis.
Under a new partnership, 211 operators can transfer that individual directly to the suicide hotline, Martin said.
“This is now 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, that our citizens in the state of Idaho have available 211 to get to the suicide hotline,” he said.
Little said he spent sometime with those who staff the suicide hotline.
“There is a special place in heaven for those people. The work they do there is very, very important to the state of Idaho,” Little said.
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