BOISE -- Thursday afternoon, state and community leaders gathered outside Boise City Hall to celebrate the collective efforts that are underway to help prevent suicide in Idaho.
“One of the reasons we love living in Boise and in Idaho is people reach out and help each other but they've really done some amazing things,” said Boise Mayor David Bieter.
The event was co-hosted by the City of Boise and The Speedy Foundation, an organization created to raise awareness about mental health after the suicide of Olympic skier Jeret “Speedy” Peterson in 2011.
“It just feels wonderful to have your family support you and that's what Boise is, Boise is just a giant family,” said Shannon Decker, executive director of The Speedy Foundation.
In the past five years The Speedy Foundation has helped spearhead the creation of Idaho's first suicide coalition, a group that has lobbied together for more state funding for its collective cause.
“The statistics here in Idaho are alarming,” said Nate Fisher, executive director of the Idaho Suicide Prevention Coalition.
“Idaho is consistently among the states with the highest suicide rates,” said Bieter.
In 2014, Idaho had the 9th highest suicide rate in America, 26 percent higher than the national average.
“Everyone, almost everyone here has been affected by suicide,” said Fisher.
“It can't just be on the shoulders of one person or one organization,” said Decker. “Which is why the Idaho Suicide Prevention Coalition is so vital to bring all of the partners in the community together to advocate for one cause to create one message.”
This year state leadership dedicated nearly $1 million to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. And today Idaho has a suicide prevention hotline that's open 24/7.
“You could take something that is a negative and turn it into a positive and do something going forward. I think it falls to all of us to do everything that we can,” said Bieter.
This is may be Idaho's suicide prevention week, but the work to stop suicide will continue well into the future.
“We keep reaching out, we keep striving for zero suicides,” said Decker.
For more information on suicide prevention in Idaho, click here.