The COVID-19 pandemic has made it hard on those struggling with their mental health, and leaders at the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline say they’re getting around a thousand calls per month.
Even before the pandemic hit, Idaho already had the 5th highest suicide rate in the country, but thanks to new funds from the Community Impact Fund, the hotline is working to bring new resources to help bring those rates down.
“We have concerns about the long term impact on people’s mental health from the pandemic, but we also want to remind people that even pre-pandemic we had a big challenge ahead with the increasing suicide rate,” said Lee Flinn, Executive Director of the hotline.
Last April, the hotline received around $20 thousand to help with their mission.
“Early on in the pandemic the community foundation partnered with united ways across the state and the Idaho nonprofit center to establish the COVID-19 response and recovery fund,” said Karen Billoweth, President and CEO of the Idaho Community Foundation.
Much of that money has helped supplement the hotline’s workforce, while other funds are going toward community outreach.
“A person can call from anywhere in Idaho,” Flinn said. “It’s anonymous. We’re here to listen and we want everyone to know we’re a resource.”
The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline (ISPH) is looking for good listeners to help them. Due to an increase in crisis calls, ISPH needs more trained volunteers in the Boise area.
“Oftentimes it is a simple interaction of just being able to talk to someone, to have someone who is struggling be heard,” Flinn said.
Officials with the 24-hour hotline say they need more volunteers around the clock. They are hoping to train dozens of volunteers this time around.
Volunteers do have to be 18 or older to help out and training sessions run through February. For more information and to apply to volunteer, click here.
Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline:
Phone: (208) 398-4357
Veteran’s Crisis Line:
Phone: 1 (800) 273-8255 (PRESS 1), or you can text: 838255 to get help from professionals, 24/7.
St. Luke’s Psychiatric Wellness Clinic:
211 Idaho Careline:
Phone: Dial 211 or 1-800-926-2588
Code 4 Northwest:
Phone: (888) 659-7510
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare:
Phone lists: https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/ContactUs.aspx