From DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: More people are using the 988 crisis line in Idaho and the nation

October 21, 2022
DHW Director Dave Jeppesen

Preventing suicides and helping Idahoans who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis is an important priority for the Department of Health and Welfare. It’s so important that it’s one of four goals in our strategic plan. Goal 3 is to help Idahoans become as healthy and self-sufficient as possible, and reducing the number of suicides in Idaho is the first objective.

The launch of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline earlier this summer was a big moment for Idaho. And I’m extremely pleased to be able to report that since the launch of 988, the Idaho Crisis and Suicide Hotline has seen an increase in call volume of about 39 percent when compared to the same timeframe in 2021. Nationally, reports show call volume increasing 50 percent and texts answered increasing 1,000 percent.

This is wonderful success! Even so, we still have work to do. As we continue to improve the crisis care continuum in Idaho, we are pleased that Idahoans now have an easy-to-remember number to call when they or a loved one is in need, and they are using it.

Anyone experiencing behavioral-health related stress -- thoughts of suicide, mental health issues, substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress — can call or text 988 at any day and time. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis intervention.

Veterans can call 988, and then press 1 when prompted to reach the Veterans Crisis line.

Help is available. Suicide is never the answer.

For more information, visit call988idaho.com.

I hope you have a safe and healthy weekend! 

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at healthandwelfare.idaho.gov.