Suicide Prevention Hotline is now up and running

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by Karen Zatkulak

NWCN.com

Posted on November 26, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 10 at 1:00 PM

BOISE -- Help for the helpless is now available throughout Idaho.  At 1 p.m. on Monday, the Suicide Prevention Hotline was launched.

Now, those in crisis can call in, and talk with local volunteers. The number is 1-800-273-TALK.

It's more than five years in the making.  Idaho has been the only state without the service since 2006.  But after plenty of hard work, organizers say they're glad it's finally up and running.

Monday, those who've helped make it happen gathered at the Statehouse. Both legislators and volunteers who have worked to get the hotline operational were in attendance.

There were also those who have been directly affected by suicide, like Linda Peterson.

She lost her son Jeret "Speedy" Peterson, an Olympic skier, to suicide last year.

She tells us, "It affects the whole community, but out of these tragedies comes a most beautiful gift for all of us...the Idaho Suicide Hotline."

Peterson says this statewide service is something her son would have appreciated.  "He was the type of person who truly cared about people, and even though he lost the battle, I really think this is from him to everyone," she said.

Eighteen local volunteers have been trained and will now be answering calls. They will be available Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

During off hours, out-of-state volunteers will be there to answer calls.

The hotline's number is 1-800-273-TALK.

Peterson was one of many overwhelmed by the launching of this resource.  "This is like a dream come true, it is so incredibly heartwarming, beyond words, it is amazing," she said.

Organizers hope to have local volunteers work the hotline 24 hours a day and seven days a week in the second year of operation.

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