AP NEWS

Idaho adds suicide prevention help to 211 CareLine

January 15, 2020 GMT

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho residents who are experiencing a mental health crisis can now dial a three-digit number to reach a suicide prevention hotline.

Gov. Brad Little announced Tuesday that suicide prevention help has been added to the existing 211 Idaho CareLine. Previously, people who called 211 seeking help for suicidal thoughts would be connected to an operator, who would then give them a separate 10-digit phone number to call.

With the new system, people calling 2-1-1 can be transferred automatically to the Idaho Suicide Prevention hotline via a phone tree or by asking an operator.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Idahoans aged 15 to 34, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

“The statistic about Idaho and suicide is something none of us are proud of,” Little said. “But we have to continue to do all of these incremental things to help with mental illness challenges all over the state of Idaho, whether they be in our grade-school kids or whether they be in senior citizens and everybody in between.”

The 211 Idaho CareLine also provides referrals for people seeking information about Medicaid, child care, rental assistance and other services. In 2019, 211 Idaho CareLine operators “facilitated 93,261 information contacts and provided 115,591 individual resource referrals,” according to the organization.

Of those, about 1,600 involved mental health issues and 51 specifically involved suicide prevention.