Reasons for calling the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline are “all over the map,” but calls have definitely gone up during recent weeks of heavy snowfalls and freezing temperatures, Director John Reusser said Thursday morning.
“People are frustrated from the weather and being shut in,” Reusser said, reciting some common refrains: “’I can’t get out of my cul-de-sac, I have cabin fever, I’m not able to get to work or school.’”
“It’s stressful, really, for everyone,” he said. “It’s dangerous to walk; it’s dangerous to drive. People with young children have been in a terrible predicament with schools being closed.”
So far, he said, January has the highest call volume in the hotline’s four years of operation — more than 18 calls per day. That number includes some texts, which the hotline started fielding late last year.
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In the past six weeks, the Treasure Valley has received more than 29 inches of snow, more than four times the average for the period of Dec. 1 through Jan. 11, the National Weather Service reports. Many people have been unable to negotiate the roads near their homes, and students have missed more than a week of school.
The severe weather also has prevented some hotline volunteers from coming in, Reusser said, but all shifts have been covered. The organization has about 70 volunteers but would like at least 100, he said, adding “we’re definitely recruiting.”
The next round of volunteer training starts Jan. 31 and takes 50 hours. To learn more, or to donate, call 208-401-0327 or 208-813-3070. Or go to the The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline website.
Kristin Rodine: 208-377-6447
The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline is 208-398-HELP (4357). That number also can accept text messages between 3 p.m. and midnight, Mondays through Fridays. You also can call the national toll-free line, 1-800-273-TALK (8255).