- Laurie Pearman
- Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline Executive Director John Reusser
It was only three-and-a-half years ago when the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline needed to redirect phone calls to out-of-state counselors following six years without any funding. Today, a full bank of Boise-based volunteers are taking calls at ISPH headquarters at all hours of the day and night.
Thanks to a significant gift from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation, the hotline can start 2016 with an eye toward helping more Idahoans—particularly Idaho youth—with a modest increase in staffing and upgrade to its communications infrastructure.
The $300,000 gift from the foundation to ISPH was announced by the organizations Dec. 21.
“We are concerned about teens in Idaho,” said Albertson Family Foundation Executive Director Roger Quarles. “This grant is just a start for what our state really needs to invest for comprehensive suicide prevention funding.”
ISPH volunteers answered nearly 2,800 calls in 2014. The organization had already answered about the same number of calls by mid-summer 2015.
"Idaho has among some of the highest suicide rates in the nation. We're 44 percent higher than the national average, and that includes a good many young people," ISPH Executive Director John Reusser said. "There's a tremendous pressure on kids to succeed."
Reusser said that beginning in 2016, ISPH will offer crisis text and chat response with a focus on Idaho youth.
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK.