by Lee Flinn, Director, Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline, reprinted with permission
For the public, September is a time when people hear about suicide prevention. As Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, this month is an opportunity to capture the attention of a broader audience and connect them to the issue we all care so deeply about. Reporters, businesses, schools, and individuals will hear about suicide prevention and be open to learning more and seeing how they can help.
This is where you come in! Please help us raise awareness about the Hotline and the important work that we do 24/7, 365 days each year. Here are five ways you can support us and engage in Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month:
1. Walk all night (or part of the night) at Strength 2 Thrive.
Friday, 9/11 at 8pm to Saturday, 9/12 at 8am at Columbia High School in Nampa, Idaho. If you have not participated before, prepare to be deeply inspired. In its third year, community members and churches come together to remember those we have lost, build community, and raise funds for the Hotline. Go to Strength2Thrive to learn more. It you want to register to walk you will have the option to join the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline team. Food and drinks will be available to purchase. All ages are welcome.
2. Attend the 6th Annual Semicolon Tattoo Event.
Saturday, 9/18 from noon – 8pm at Resurrected Tattoo in Boise, Idaho. According to Project Semicolon, “A semicolon is used when an author could've chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you, and the sentence is your life”. Semicolon tattoos will be $50 and half of the proceeds will benefit the Hotline. Resurrected Tattoos will observe COVID-19 safety protocols.
3. Apply to be a Hotline crisis phone responder.
Application deadline for this cohort is 9/5/21. Learn more and fill out the form at: https://www.idahosuicideprevention.org/volunteer. Our dedicated volunteers offer hope and encouragement to those experiencing crisis. Each month, the Hotline receives approximately 1,500 contacts from people who are overwhelmed due to suicidal feelings, anxiety, depression, isolation, or relationship difficulties. As a crisis phone responder you provide a warm, caring voice and a listening ear. Be a lifeline and help change someone’s story. Comprehensive training is provided. Many Hotline volunteers say their service is among the most important experiences of their life
4. Ask the question. Be direct.
Mental health and suicide are often side-stepped until they can no longer be avoided. When we ask someone who appears to be struggling, “are you feeling suicidal”, we let them know we care. If a loved one is feeling suicidal, call the Hotline at 800-273-8255 or text 208-398-4357. Call for yourself or call for a person you care about. We can help.
5. If an all-night walk, semicolon tattoo, or volunteer gig don’t fit for you right now – please consider donating to Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline. You can donate online, write a check, or give through donor advised funds, stock donations, IRA gifts, and bequests. More information about giving options here: www.idahosuicideprevention.org/donate
Can you take at least one of these actions this month? It would help make a difference by raising awareness about suicide and mental health. Here’s to taking small actions that have a big impact. That’s a role we can all take - and not just in September.