In a troubling report out today, Idaho is ranked fourth in the nation when measuring suicide rates in 2009.
The study from the American Association of Suicidology said Idaho's 2009 suicide rate of 19.7 per 100,000 population was far higher than the national average rate of 12.0. Only Montana, Alaska and Wyoming were ahead of Idaho. Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon, Arizona and Utah rounded out the Top 10.
"The ranking is higher than we've experienced," said Kathie Garrett, chairperson of the Idaho Council on Suicide Prevention, pointing to a 2008 study that ranked Idaho as sixth in the nation.
The council, along with the Suicide Prevention Action Network, Veterans' Services Administration, Idaho State University and the Idaho National Guard have been working to re-establish a suicide prevention hot line for Idaho, which was closed in 2006 after loss of funding.
"Our goal is to raise at least two years' worth of funding so we can be assured that a hot line would not be opened one year and closed the next," said Garrett. "We want to be sure that when Idahoans call the hot line, the telephone is answered."