Boise police get nearly 20 calls a day from men and women in mental health crises.
Idaho now ranks sixth for the number of suicides per capita. The state has ranked consistently in the top 10 for many years. Studies have isolated the three main causes, say experts: a lack of access to effective mental health care; easy access to guns and a Western pull yourself up by your own bootstraps mentality. The latter can be an asset in many parts of life, but not so much when it comes to getting help with personal issues.
Boise Police Chief Michael Masterson has been outspoken about the need for more mental health services for Boiseans, especially as police have had to shoulder an increasing burden of mental health calls. Masterson, City Ombudsman Pierce Murphy and suicide prevention expert Kim Kane, former director of the Suicide Prevention Action Network (SPAN Idaho), hosted a roundtable on Jan. 23 in Boise. Attendees included representatives from local newspapers and TV stations, school administration, veterans groups, the city, the Boise Rescue Mission and others.
The message: The community should regard the prevalence of suicide as a public health crisis. Like other public health crises, most suicides are preventable if people recognize the problem and take action, said longtime suicide prevention advocate and former lawmaker Kathie Garrett.
Another roundtable take-away: Talking about suicide in the public arena will not inspire more people to take their lives. Public discourse can save lives by shedding light on suicide warning signs and the availability of a suicide prevention hotline.
Toward that end, find a list of suicide warning signs online (link through this column at idahostatesman.com).
Keep this number for the newly opened Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK, or pass it on to someone who might need it.
A GOOD WEEK TO MARK THE SESQUICENTENNIAL
Boise will host events throughout 2013 to mark its 150th anniversary, or sesquicentennial.
The Department of Arts & History presents a series of free Thinking 150 events this week.
Fettuccine Forum: Memory and History: 5 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 7, The Rose Room, 718 W. Idaho St.
Boise State professor and historian Lynn Lubamersky will discuss how memory influences perceptions of personal and collective history.
Thinking and Drinking: 6 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8.
This event features moderated discussions with Boise State professors at three different spots around town. The professors will speak on the citys three 150 themes:
John Bieter and David Lachiondo will be at Leku Ona.
Lisa Brady will be at Berryhill & Co.
Kent Neupert will be at Payette Brewing Co.
Placing Boise in the American West, reception at 6 p.m., presentation at 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 9, Boise Centre, 850 W. Front St., Summit Auditorium.
Two scholars of the American West, Jon Christensen, a historian at UCLAs Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, and Anthea Hartig, executive director of the California Historical Society, will explore Boises history within the context of a larger regional framework.
For information, call 433-5675.
TREY MCINTYRE PROJECT SUPPORTS BASQUE CAMPAIGN
A special event on First Thursday, Feb. 7, will give attendees a close look at the dance companys creative process and raise money for the Basque Museum & Cultural Centers Expanding Horizons Campaign.
The evening will begin with a wine social hour at 5:30 p.m., followed by TMPs demonstration based on its Basque dance-inspired piece Arrantza, and paella dinner. Tickets are $40 through the Basque Museum & Cultural Center at 343-2671 or basquemuseum.com.
The museum plans to expand its educational programs, exhibits and collections to reach Basque communities throughout the western U.S. The campaign has raised about $1 million of its $1.5 million goal through donations from individuals, businesses and foundations.
HOMELESS COALITION TO MEET
The coalition, a network of local service providers and advocates for the homeless, hosts Boise State professor Stephanie Witt, who will speak on The Politics of Homelessness, 9 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 6, Idaho Housing and Finance Association, first floor conference room, 565 W. Myrtle. 246-8830, ext. 11.
Anna Webb: 377-6431