Little and Martin at suicide hotline press conference

Gov. Brad Little, left, and Sen. Fred Martin, right, at a press conference Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020 about a partnership between Idaho's 211 Care Line and the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline to provide easier access to the hotline for Idahoans.

There’s been discussion at the federal level about creating a three-digit phone number to make it easier to call a suicide prevention hotline, but Sen. Fred Martin, R-Boise, said, “We can’t wait.” Today, the state announced a new partnership between the existing 211 care line, which is operated by the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare, and the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline, that allows people who call 2-1-1 in Idaho to reach the suicide prevention hotline. They can either select the hotline from among the choices offered when they call 211, or after talking with someone at the 211 line, they can be transferred directly to the hotline. The partnership also includes special training for 211 operators in suicide warning signs.

Idaho Press reporter Olivia Heersink covered the press conference today; you can read her full story here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up Wednesday's edition of the Idaho Press.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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