'Caring about them is the biggest thing they can do'

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - For the first time in six years Idaho will have it's own suicide prevention hotline serving everyone in the state.

The local call center went online at 1pm Monday. Before that Idaho was the only state in the country who didn't have their own call center. Volunteers say it's important to have local people answering the phones because they can better understand the problems facing local residents.

George Austin, who volunteered for a hotline while living in Michigan, said having someone on the line that is local can really help.

"Recognize that this is not something that necessarily is a lifetime problem but is a situational problem," said Austin "Hopefully we can help them tap into their resources and some of the community resources so that they can get through."

On average a suicide hotline gets about 15 phone calls per day and officials say it's important to have someone there to listen. Volunteer Coordinator Sydney Young said that can make the difference for many.

"You're a third party that isn't going to judge them. So really listening to them and validating their problems and taking an interest in caring about them is the biggest thing they can do."

The last suicide hotline shut down in 2006 due to funding issues. This time around the hotline has at least enough to go for two years and is confident they can raise enough money to keep it going in the future. They've already received several large donations from local organizations.

If you need to call or know someone who might need someone to talk with about suicide you can call the hotline at 1-800-237-TALK(8255). To help volunteer or for more information you can visit their website