ISU Headlines

New Idaho Suicide Prevention Plan offers hope

Posted November 4, 2011

The Idaho Council on Suicide Prevention has released the new Idaho Suicide Prevention Plan t. Designed as an "Action Guide," the plan is intended to guide suicide prevention, intervention and postvention activities.

In announcing the release of the Plan, the Council said it is presenting it to the people of Idaho with the hope that communities across the state will find a place in it for programs that suit the needs of their residents and stakeholders. "Community" is defined as not just a geographic location, but as any group of people with like interests who want to address Idaho's high suicide rate.

The Plan was developed by the Council and statewide stakeholders, with the support of the Idaho State University Institute of Rural Health through its Awareness to Action Youth Suicide Prevention Project funded by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

"Over the past 16 months, the Council has worked to identify priorities for prevention, including education and awareness-building to reduce the stigma about mental illness and suicide," said Kathie Garrett, chair of the Council. "SAMHSA has found that 90 percent of people who die by suicide have an underlying mental health disorder or a substance use disorder, or both."

In the past five years through 2010, 1,286 Idahoans have died by suicide. Idaho's suicide rate is now 18.5 people per 100,000 population compared with a national rate of 12. Over time, Idaho consistently ranks in the top 15 states for its rate of suicide.

The Plan focuses on the need for accessible mental health and substance use care, education programs for professionals who work with people at risk of suicide and mental health/substance-use professional workforce development. It also addresses what communities can do to encourage people who need help to seek mental health care, to raise awareness of the warning signs for suicide and to support those who have lost a friend or family member to suicide.

The report is available from Plan partner, the Suicide Prevention Action Network of Idaho, at www.spanidaho.org.