Non-profit donates $10,000 toward Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline
Mayor David Bieter joined suicide prevention advocates from Idaho and Utah to officially launch The Speedy Foundation, a new organization created in memory of Jeret “Speedy” Peterson and dedicated to understanding mental health conditions and preventing suicide through research, education, advocacy, and the promotion of activities and outlets for at-risk youths.
At the event, the foundation announced a $10,000 donation toward the creation of an Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline. Idaho is currently the only state in the nation without a dedicated suicide prevention hotline. A coalition of Idaho organizations, including Idaho State University, Idaho Council on Suicide Prevention, Suicide Prevention Action Network of Idaho, NAMI Boise, Mountain States Group Inc. and Idaho National Guard, has created a detailed proposal for the creation of an Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline.
“Jeret’s tragic death has shined a powerful spotlight on the lack of sufficient mental illness resources in Idaho,” Mayor David Bieter said. “I commend The Speedy Foundation for coming together so quickly and turning their grief toward this new effort. The best possible legacy from Jeret’s death would be the creation of a permanent suicide prevention hotline in Idaho with an ongoing and sustainable funding source.”
Mayor Bieter also issued a proclamation declaring Wednesday, September 21, 2011, “Suicide Prevention Awareness Day.”
According to a 2007 study, Idaho has the 11th highest suicide rate in the country. Current numbers are likely higher, as suicide deaths in Idaho increased 22% in 2009, with 307 people dying by suicide. In 2010, Boise Police reported 878 calls involving suicide attempts or threats. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Idahoans ages 15 to 34 and for males age 10 to 14. The 2009 Idaho Youth Risk Behavior Survey reported that one in seven high school students had seriously considered suicide in the last 12 months. During that time 8% of high school females and 5% of high school males attempted suicide.
Research has shown that suicide prevention hotlines which offer skilled intervention, referral to local resources and follow-up calls are effective in saving lives.
The proposed Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline would cost just $93,000 for its first year of operation and $127,000 per year thereafter. The coalition has suggested Mountain States Group as a viable operator of the hotline.