On Thursday, February 23rd, we attended AFSP’s Idaho State Capitol Day. Every year, State Capitol Day brings advocates together with state and local public officials to share information, updates, and urge that suicide prevention be made a priority.
We had the opportunity , along with several other community advocates, to meet with legislators to speak about legislative and policy issues that need support. We urged legislators to continue supporting the implementation of 988, Idaho’s Continuum of Crisis Care, and to continue prioritizing the recommendations of the Idaho Behavioral Health Council.
Other organizations there in support included NAMI Idaho, ISPAC, Idaho Youth Ranch, Children’s Home Society of Idaho, fyidaho, Idaho Academy of Family Physicians, and Live Wilder.
During the event, NAMI Idaho presented the Kathie Garrett IMPACT award. This award is given to an organization or individual who has had significant and positive influence on improving the lives of those impacted by mental illness. This year, it was awarded to the incredible team at Idaho’s 988 Crisis and Suicide Hotline.
Advocating for continuous support of 988 is essential to Idahoans for a multitude of reasons. An effectively resourced and promoted 988 system will keep our communities healthy and safe by improving outcomes for individuals experiencing a suicide or behavioral health crisis. It will ensure more equitable access and fill gaps in the current crisis response system, particularly in underserved communities, reduce healthcare spending by encouraging early intervention, and reduce the burden on emergency rooms and law enforcement.
We were honored to advocate for suicide prevention and to support these initiatives and are eager to continue our work with these organizations and individuals.