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Boise Rescue Mission CEO says 392 Idahoans died from suicide last year

Boise Rescue Mission CEO says 392 Idahoans died from suicide last year (CBS2)
Boise Rescue Mission CEO says 392 Idahoans died from suicide last year (CBS2)
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The CDC reports suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, with rates on an uphill trend.

Compared to the general population, suicide rates are 10 times higher among people experiencing homelessness.

Homelessness is a big challenge in Idaho, and preventing suicide among Idaho's homeless is becoming even more challenging.

Bill Roscoe, President, and CEO of the Boise Rescue Mission said it is hard to track suicide among the homeless population. He said that's because many live a lifestyle where they are constantly moving.

"We have had suicides completed at the rescue mission and a couple attempts over the past couple of years, I think two last year," Roscoe said.

Roscoe believes most people would leave the mission if they were to commit suicide, so it's hard to put a number on how many homeless people have died of suicide this past year.

"We do know overall last year there were 392 suicides in Idaho and some part of that number were homeless people without a doubt," Roscoe said.

Roscoe said mission members are trained and prepared to handle a crisis like suicide.

"Most of us have had suicide intervention training so we are aware of the signs of suicide when someone might have the suicidal tendency or ideology and we pay attention to people," Roscoe said.

Roscoe said Idaho's homeless population is struggling during the pandemic.

"The population is increasing, unfortunately, it's hard to get a handle on that right now because as I mentioned a lot of people who are homeless are not staying in the shelters our numbers are actually down from a year ago," Roscoe said.

Roscoe said although the city is providing some housing for the homeless, he believes many of them are staying away from the community and isolating themselves due to the stress of the pandemic.

"There were some of the population who were extremely stressed out over it and in fact, a lot of them left and just hit the trail and went camping," Roscoe said.

Roscoe said he is also concerned about Idaho's veteran population.

"There were 57 veteran suicides in the state of Idaho last year and that is way too high," Roscoe said.

There are resources and programs out there for people who are struggling like the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

"We take advantage of directing people to all those places to go," Roscoe said.

Roscoe said it is especially important people in the community are kind to one another and make an effort to check on those around you.

"Just be aware of the folks around you and be interested in the folks around you to the point that you will stick your neck out and ask the hard questions and see what people are really thinking and that could make all the difference in the world," Roscoe said.

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