The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline (ISPH) is one step closer to being a fulltime crisis line.
Thursday hotline staff announced they received a $50,000 grant from the United Way of the Treasure Valley. ISPH Executive Director John Reusser says the award will go a long way in helping the hotline become a 24/7 resource. He says the United Way first gave them funds when they started in 2012.
"The United Way has been very supportive," says Reusser. "This donation will help fund operations as we get through the last leg of expansion."
The hotline has 56 trained volunteers who answer the phones Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-1 a.m. The organization has slowly been adding more hours as it gains volunteers, and just recently expanded to Saturdays.
Reusser says the United Way grant will be used to help pay for outreach efforts, both to get more volunteers on board and to let more Idahoans know about the resource. Before 2012, the state went six years without a suicide prevention hotline. In 2010, the state had the sixth highest suicide rate in the country.
Reusser says it's not clear when the organization will go fulltime, but he's optimistic that a strong batch of new volunteers could make that possible as soon this fall. Reusser says he knows finding volunteers to answer the phones overnight could be difficult, but the United Way grant could help pay for some of those shifts rather than relying solely on volunteers.
Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter at @FABarnhill
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