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Suicide Prevention Continues With Hotline Underway

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By Brittany Cooper

Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT-TV/KTWT-TV) For years, there's been a stigma attached to the word 'suicide'. Not everyone wants to talk about it, but that's part of the problem. Since November, Idahoans have fielded calls through the suicide prevention hotline, for the first time since 2006.

Nearly 100 people have called the hotline. Locally trained volunteers give callers the resources they need and a follow–up call if wanted.

As a teenager, Wings Charter School counselor Donna Stalley lost a cousin to suicide.

"And I still remember how the family did not talk about it. There was no discussion; the word suicide was never mentioned. The stigma at the time was so great that nobody talked about or was able to deal with suicide. I think we've come a long way today."

While more and more are discussing suicide, the demographic may be growing, encompassing children as young as 12 years old, according to Stalley.

"I'm seeing younger and younger children coming in that are hopeless, sad, depressed, unable to deal with the pressures whether it's home life or things that are happening on Facebook, things that are happening with their texts, these kids are seeing a lot of violence and I think they're becoming desensitized," says Stalley.

Despite awareness efforts, Idaho continues to rank among the highest states in the nation for suicide.

Lori Stewart, Co-Chair of SPAN Idaho South Central Chapter adds, "SPAN Idaho, our local chapter is really excited to be getting some awareness out. We're going to be able to have an awareness campaign starting later this month and run for six months."

By the end of January, you'll see a billboard at the corner of Kimberly Road and Blue Lakes Boulevard with a logo similar to this. Farm Bureau has started a poster campaign, teaming up with SPAN, with the hotline featured front and center.

"We want to educate without glorifying," says Stalley.

Stewart adds, "the more we can talk about it and have an open dialogue; I think we'll be able to combat this problem."

Preventing through communicating, a way Idahoans can understand and combat suicide.

The suicide prevention hotline is 1–800–293–TALK.

Also, a grief support group for survivors of suicide meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Twin Falls.


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