© 2024 Boise State Public Radio
NPR in Idaho
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Service program will expand Idaho's public health capacity for suicide prevention

Two senior's hands are in the center clasped together and their arms extend out to the side.
Lynne Sladky
AP Photo
FILE - In this Jan. 12, 2021, file photo residents Ken Fishman, 81, left, and Esther Wallach, 82, right, hold hands as they wait in line for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the The Palace assisted living facility in Coral Gables, Fla. An ongoing study suggests that older American adults are showing resilience and perseverance despite struggles with loneliness and isolation during the pandemic.

Members of the national service program AmeriCorps have been helping with Idaho’s pandemic response, and new funding will allow the initiative to expand and tackle another one of the state’s top health concerns.

A national partnership between AmeriCorps, the federal agency for volunteering and national service, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will create the Public Health Corps through a $400 million investment from the American Rescue Plan Act.

In Idaho, a $1.4 million investment will mean 72 new service positions based at Idaho State University’s Institute for Rural Health to specifically focus on mental health.

Across the state, the corps member will work with public health departments on suicide prevention training and will become certified suicide prevention experts.

Idaho has consistently had one of the nation’s highest suicide rates.

The new members starting in July will join nearly 100 AmeriCorps workers already focused on health in Idaho. During the pandemic, they helped stock food pantries, delivered health supplies for people experiencing homelessness and sent cards to senior citizens.

Resources if you or someone you know is considering suicide:

Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline: Text or call 1-208-398-HELP (4357)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Options For Deaf + Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889
En español: 1-888-628-9454
Veterans Crisis Line & Military Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, Press 1
Crisis Text Line: 741-741
In emergency situations, call 911.

I cover environmental issues, outdoor recreation and local news for Boise State Public Radio. Beyond reporting, I contribute to the station’s digital strategy efforts and enjoy thinking about how our work can best reach and serve our audience. The best part of my job is that I get to learn something new almost every day.

You make stories like this possible.

The biggest portion of Boise State Public Radio's funding comes from readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

Your donation today helps make our local reporting free for our entire community.