POCATELLO, Idaho - It's been almost a year since the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline went back into effect.
To go along with World Suicide Prevention Awareness Day on Tuesday, we spoke with the director of the hotline, John Reusser, about trends they're seeing at the hotline and the obvious topic -- suicide.
Reusser the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline has seen an increase in phone call volume.
"Call volume on a daily basis ranges pretty broadly," said Reusser in a phone interview, "but overall, we are noticing an increase in the average calls per day."
He said there are about 1 million people who commit suicide per year, an average of one completed suicide every 40 seconds. He said that number averages more deaths per year than war and disease combined.
While our station does not usually report on people who have completed suicide, the situations arise very frequently.
Some of the most common signs that someone is struggling with suicidal thoughts are sudden mood changes - being very happy and then very sad suddenly, saying or feeling hopeless or helpless, or feeling ashamed or guilty.
There are also physical signs, like spending less time with family and friends, sudden sleeping habit changes and doing things like cutting or burning.
Reusser says to not be afraid to address someone who is talking about completing suicide. One common misconception is that talking to someone about suicidal thoughts will make them more likely to do it.
"Asking a person about their thoughts on suicide will not make them more suicidal," Reusser said.
Reusser also said there is a stigma attached to suicide. He said talking about suicide should be like talking about diabetes: they are both real problems and both have many resources to help you cope.
The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline number is (800) 273-8255. Although its hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, if you call the number during off-hours, you will be patched through to the Lifeline Network.
Reusser said the Idaho hotline may expand to 24 hours.