The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline (ISPH), a program of Jannus, is encouraging hope and human connection as Idaho’s crisis line.
The only nationally accredited crisis hotline in Idaho , ISPH opened our phones on November 27th, 2012 and have been proudly serving Idaho ever since. Our team began with just 1.5 total paid staff and 18 volunteers, operating just 8 hours per day, 4 days per week in a donated office space.
Today we have 12 full time and part time staff and over 100 active volunteers. We operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and have text and chat hours Monday – Friday 3 pm – midnight.
ISPH provides compassionate and empathetic support for anyone who calls, whether you are calling for yourself or because you are worried about someone else. We not only provide crisis intervention, but we can also provide information on suicide prevention, how to help and support a loved one, and local resources.
Your confidentiality is important to us. Calls to the Hotline may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance or training purposes only. Hotline staff will only break confidentiality in cases of imminent risk of harm to self or others, or in cases where mandatory reporting requirement standards are met.
The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline strives to be a resource for anyone in Idaho experiencing a suicidal or other type of crisis. We accept calls, texts, or chat communications without regard to age, gender identity, race, religion, sexual orientation, or national origin.
Leadership and Staff
Idaho Native and founding Director John Reusser, LCSW, began his career in crisis intervention volunteering at the Crisis Clinic of King County in Seattle, becoming a trainer, paid phone worker and phone room supervisor there before returning to Idaho to work on the Region IV IDHW Mobile Crisis Unit and in the St. Alphonsus emergency department. He is a member of the Idaho Council on Suicide Prevention, a board member of the Livewilder Foundation, Idaho Suicide Prevention Coalition, an instructor at the BSU school of social work, and a Certified ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) Trainer.
Despite attending school to be an elementary school teacher, Clinical Lead Supervisor George Austin found his true career path after he began volunteering with Common Ground, a crisis service agency in his native Michigan in 1994.During his time at Common Ground, George served in a variety of roles including volunteering on their hotline, supervising hotline volunteers, conducting trainings, coordinating community debriefings after traumatic events, working as a victim advocate and running the agency’s victim assistance program. George moved to Idaho at the end of 2002 and spent a few years as a stay a home dad to two great kids before he began volunteering and then working on the Idaho Suicide Hotline in 2012. George is trained in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and is a Certified ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) Trainer.
With great honor and enthusiasm, Alex McNish joined the ISPH team in January 2018 as the Volunteer Coordinator. Alex’s background includes raising a family in the Treasure Valley and 20+ years working with mission-driven organizations; most recently with two healthy aging programs sponsored by Jannus: The Foster Grandparent and Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) as the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator. Alex enjoys connecting with people and is excited to support our volunteers!
Sharon Lightning, came to ISPH in 2016. Her previous nonprofit experience was with the now state sponsored Idaho Lives Project. Sharon has a big passion for helping others and with her free time, she continues to be a trainer for the Sources of Strength program in Idaho secondary schools. She is also a certified Living Works trainer of ASIST, safeTALK and suicideTALK. As Program Assistant, Sharon brings a wealth of training knowledge and a contagious enthusiasm to all her ISPH endeavors.
Wendy Young came to ISPH as the Development Director after working for over ten years with various nonprofits. Her nonprofit background includes starting small nonprofits, state and national lobbing/advocacy, working for national foundations, grant writing, and fund development. She currently works to create and implement vibrant and sustainable development strategies for ISPH.
Our Partners in Suicide Prevention
Idaho Division of Veteran’s Services
United Way (Kootenai County, Southeast Idaho, & Treasure Valley)
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
Saint Alphonsus Health System
Jeret ‘Speedy’ Peterson Foundation