Helping Works

More calls to Idaho’s suicide hotline means more volunteers needed

As word about the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-TALK) has gotten out, the number of calls for help has increased, say staffers. The hotline is looking for volunteers to answer phones for all shifts, especially evenings and weekends. Volunteers receive training and supervision and also get the chance to work alongside fellow volunteers devoted to the public good.

In Ada County, the number of calls to the hotline during the first quarter of 2015 was 298. For that period in 2016, it rose to 303. In Canyon County, the number of calls during that time period rose from 90 to 117.

The next training class for the hotline begins Sept. 24 and runs until mid-October. Tours and shadowing for prospective volunteers will take place in August and September.

After their required training, volunteers commit to one shift per week for one year. To learn more call Nina Leary at 208-401-8327, email her at or visit to apply.

Idaho has the 7th-highest suicide rate in the country, a rate that is 47 percent higher than the national average.

More statistics to consider: In 2013, 65 percent of Idaho suicides involved a firearm. The national average is 51 percent. One in seven Idaho youth attending regular public and charter high schools reported seriously considering suicide.

This quarter, hotline volunteers contributed a total of 3,715 hours, an approximate value of $64,000.