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Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline takes 3,000th call, adds Friday and Saturday Overnight Shifts

Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline takes 3,000th call, adds Friday and Saturday Overnight Shifts

ISPH now recruiting for October Volunteer training class

BOISE, ID. (September 19, 2014)

The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-TALK), a program of Mountain States Group, Inc. continues to expand hours toward 24/7 coverage, adding weekend overnight shifts to its current Monday- Friday hours and has now taken over 3,000 calls since launching in November 2012.

With expanded hours beginning this weekend, trained Idaho phone responders field even more calls from Idahoans who are in crisis or suicidal —and connect them with key resources in their local communities. The hotline also offers follow-up calls to individuals seeking help.

ISPH will add Sunday days and Sunday-Thursday overnights this November when its next cohort of volunteers is trained. Outside of ISPH operating hours, calls to 1-800-273-TALK (8255) are answered by crisis centers in other states.

Says hotline Executive Director John Reusser: “With each new trained cohort of Volunteer Phone Responders we come closer to 24/7 Suicide hotline response in Idaho. Our call volume has increased steadily in 2014 already- double 2013’s entire call volume. Thanks to the support of all Idahoans ISPH is on schedule to reach our goal of round the clock coverage before the end of 2014.”

Support during critical times

The hotline offers callers:

  • Emotional support
  • Assessment of suicide risk
  • Crisis intervention to those in imminent danger
  • Linkages to local services
  • Follow-up for those who exhibit suicide risk factors


Addressing a statewide problem

  • Idaho has the eighth-highest suicide rate in the U.S.
  • Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for adolescents and young adults in Idaho.


After multi-sector collaboration throughout the Gem State, the ISPH opened in November 2012 — providing much-needed support for individuals at risk for suicide.

Getting involved

The ISPH team trains volunteers — laypersons or professionals — to become trained crisis phone workers. The next training class begins October 4. Informational sessions for prospective volunteers are ongoing in September. Retired mental health professionals are encouraged to consider becoming volunteer Phone Room Supervisors.

ISPH provides great training and experience in a supportive environment for its Volunteer Phone Workers. Says volunteer Jennie Rylee: “…never in my life have I felt more worthwhile, more valuable, more needed than I do on the Suicide Prevention Hotline. We save people’s lives in a very real and very personal sense. Besides being a mom and grandma, it’s by far the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Volunteers receive approximately 40 hours of training and apprenticeship and commit to one 4 ½-hour hotline shift per week for one year.

To learn more or make a donation, visit the ISPH webpage. To volunteer call Nina Leary at 258-6992 or email <[email protected]>