Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline fundraiser to honor veterans Oct. 4

Having taken steps toward its goal of 24-hour service, the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline is asking supporters to buy an extra ticket for an Oct. 4 show for a veteran, a group at higher risk for suicide than the general population.

The hotline will mark a year of service in November.

At first, calls were taken by Idahoans from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Thursday and transferred to other states at other hours. In February, Fridays were added and the service has since expanded to 9 a.m to 9 p.m.

Hotline director John Reusser says having Idahoans handling calls around the clock remains the hotline’s goal.

“Late-night hours and weekends can be critical times for people in crisis,” said hotline director Reusser in a news release. “It’s always better having Idahoans helping Idahoans. Expanding hotline hours to 24/7 as soon as possible is the surest way to do this.”

To raise money to further expand, the musical comedy act Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadours will perform at Boise’s Egyptian Theatre Oct. 4. Tickets are $25.

Organizers suggest buying a ticket for a veteran, either a friend or family member. If you don’t know anyone interested, organizers will distribute donated tickets to veterans with the help of veterans groups.

On Tuesday, I noted that Idaho GOP Sen. Jim Risch has taken an interest in the issue, having  recorded a public service announcement to publicize Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 8-14.

The full news release follows:

Honor veterans AND help Hotline

Interested in honoring our military veterans while at the same time assisting the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline? You can by buying a ticket for a veteran to attend a special benefit concert for the Hotline.

Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadours will return to Boise’s Egyptian Theatre on Oct. 4 to celebrate the Hotline’s first year of service and to help the Hotline go 24/7. General admission tickets are $25.

ISPH currently operates 12 hours a day, from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday. Outside those hours, all calls to 1-800-273-TALK (8255) are answered by other crisis centers in the Lifeline Network, not by Idahoans who are more familiar with state and local services.

“Late-night hours and weekends can be critical times for people in crisis,” said John Reusser, Hotline director. “It’s always better having Idahoans helping Idahoans. Expanding hotline hours to 24/7 as soon as possible is the surest way to do this.”

Reusser also pointed out that veterans are at high risk of committing suicide.

“Recent studies indicate that the suicide rate for veterans and active-duty military is more than double the civilian suicide rate,” Reusser said. “We want to let Idaho veterans know we are here for them, and we also want to thank them for their service. And we want them to enjoy Antsy McClain’s form of medicine: music and laughter.”

“When you purchase your tickets to the show, please consider buying an additional ticket to give to a friend or family member who is a veteran,” Reusser said.

Reusser also pointed out that even if you don’t know a veteran, you can still buy a ticket for one. Call or visit the Egyptian Theatre’s box office no later than Oct. 1 to purchase the ticket. Tell the box office employee that the ticket is for a veteran. A ticket will be set aside at the box office for a veteran. The ISPH and several veterans organizations will ensure that veterans get the tickets.

You also can purchase a ticket for a veteran online at eygptiantheatre.net, but you must call the box office to have the ticket set aside. The box office phone number is 208-345-0454. The theater is at 700 W. Main St., Boise.

For more information regarding the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline, contact Hotline Director John Reusser at 208-258-6990, email jreusser@mtnstatesgroup.org.

For more information regarding the concert and Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadours, contact Al Bunch at 208-861-5052, email alvinbunch@gmail.com.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

www.idahosuicideprevention.org

www.unhitched.com

www.unhitched.com/ANTSY_ON_PBS.html

www.antsy.net

www.egyptiantheatre.net

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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