Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in Idaho, and the state continually ranks among the top 10 states for the highest number of suicide deaths per capita.
Suicide is a critical public health issue that can have long-lasting negative effects on individuals, families, and the community at large. Though the causes of suicide are complicated and determined by many factors, the goal of Central District Health’s Suicide Prevention Program is to reduce the risk factors of suicide and to increase protective factors that promote resilience, by advancing awareness and education on suicide prevention and fostering a commitment to social change.
Suicide is a serious public health issue in Idaho that requires effective prevention strategies.
Between 2014-2018, 125 Idaho school-aged children (6-18 years old) died by suicide; 31 of those deaths were among children age 14 or younger. According to the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the percentage of Idaho high school students who seriously considered attempting suicide during the previous 12 months increased significantly from 14.2% in 2009 to 21.6% in 2019.
If you are thinking about suicide, have thought about suicide before, or are concerned someone else might be thinking about suicide, please stop and read this. Central District Health does not provide crisis services, but help is available. You can reach out for help for yourself or to support someone else.
If you are in crisis, you can call the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988. You may also call or text the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 1-208-398-4357, or can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-273-8255. Press 1 for the Veterans Helpline.
You could also get help by texting “HEAL” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or contacting Lifeline Crisis Chat.If you’re under 21, you can call Teen Link at 1-866-TEENLINK (6546) and ask to talk to a peer.
If you or someone in your home is at risk of suicide or may be in the future, create a safety plan and reduce access to lethal means (objects or substances people could use to harm themselves).
Risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that someone will consider, attempt, or die by suicide. They cannot cause or predict a suicide attempt, but they are important to be aware of.
Some warning signs may help you determine if a loved one is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these, seek help by calling the Lifeline.
If you have health insurance, check with the insurance company about what providers and services are covered. If your workplace has an employee assistance program, you should be able to get confidential counseling through it. If you go to a school or college with a counseling center or school counselors, they can help you find a counselor.
Advice and Resources from Suicide Attempt Survivors
Increasingly, people who have been at risk of suicide are taking leadership in suicide prevention. These resources can help you take care of yourself and connect you with people with similar experiences.
Looking out for the warning signs of suicide can help you determine if a loved one is at risk of suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline lists the following warning signs. Warning signs may include but are not limited to:
How can you help them?
It can be scary when a friend or loved one is thinking about suicide. It's hard to know how a suicidal crisis feels and how to act. Call a lifeline or hotline center at any time for help if a friend is struggling.
If you are concerned about someone else, below are five easy steps you can take to help. These five action steps for communicating with someone who may be suicidal are supported by evidence in the field of suicide prevention.
All suicidal plans or attempts need to be taken seriously no matter the means. When we talk about suicide, it’s critical to not only ask ‘why’ but to also think about ‘how.’ There were 1,844 total suicides in Idaho between 2014-2018. The following methods were used:
The type of means that someone at risk of suicide can use to kill themselves can often make a large difference in the lethality of an attempt. Firearms are used in suicides more than every other method combined and tend to be the most fatal of means.
Should we only focus on firearms?
No, but firearms are typically the most serious, fatal, and irreversible out of all the means. According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, having a firearm in the household is a major risk factor for suicide deaths. The use of gun locks and safe storage of firearms are effective ways to restrict a suicidal person access to firearms. Nonetheless, there are many ways that people can use as a means to kill themselves. Loved ones and/or household members of a suicidal person need to be careful with all means. Time and distance between a suicidal person and their means can save a life.
What if they don't want help?
It can be difficult to know what to do when someone thinking about suicide doesn’t want help. The most important things you can do are to be available for when they are ready to talk and create a safety plan. Reduce access to lethal means they might use by locking up and safely storing medications and firearms. Call specialists at the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline or the National Suicide Prevention can help you find local resources for when your loved one is ready to seek help.
Coping with Stress Resources:
Other Federal Resources
Additional Online Resources:
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. All month, mental health advocates, prevention organizations, survivors, allies, and community members unite to promote suicide prevention awareness.
National Suicide Prevention Week is September 4 - 10, 2022. It is a time to share resources and stories, as well as promote suicide prevention awareness.
World Suicide Prevention Day is September 10, 2022. It’s a time to remember those affected by suicide, to raise awareness, and to focus efforts on directing treatment to those who need it most.
#BeThe1To is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s message for National Suicide Prevention Month and beyond, which helps spread the word about actions we can all take to prevent suicide. The Lifeline network and its partners are working to change the conversation from suicide to suicide prevention, to actions that can promote healing, help and give hope.
Tips for talking about Suicide
|Instead of||Consider saying|
|Failed suicide or unsuccessful attempt||Suicide attempt/attempted suicide|
|Successful or completed suicide||Died by suicide/suicide death|
|Committed suicide||Took their own life|
|Chose to kill himself/herself||Died as the result of self-inflicted injury|
Source: NAMI: Your Language Matters
Safe communication for suicide prevention:
Storytelling | Healing, hope and help are happening every day:
The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is a public health surveillance program developed and partially funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The BRFSS is designed to provide state and sub-state estimates of the prevalence of chronic disease, injury, health conditions, and health-related behaviors associated with the major causes of death and disability.
BRFSS data are used to identify emerging health problems, develop and evaluate public health programs, enable state health policymakers to assess their own states’ need, and determine progress toward public health goals. Idaho has worked with the CDC to conduct the BRFSS since its inception in 1984. Learn more, HERE.
The National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) is a comprehensive, state-based public health surveillance system, overseen by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which allows states to collect comprehensive data on circumstances surrounding violent deaths. Data are collected from three primary sources: the death certificate, the coroner’s report, and law enforcement reports.
By combining information on a violent death from these three sources, the NVDRS builds a comprehensive picture of the circumstances in a victim’s life which have led to or contributed to their violent death. The Idaho Violent Death Reporting System (IdVDRS) collects data on all violent deaths which occur annually in the State of Idaho. By collecting data on violent deaths, IdVDRS prevention partners can create targeted, evidence-based prevention strategies to help reduce the burden of violent deaths in Idaho. Learn more, HERE.