An update from DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Working to reduce Idaho’s suicide rate

DHW’s Living Strategic Plan: A year of progress toward Goal 3 – Help Idahoans become as healthy and self-sufficient as possible

As the department continues to develop our next five-year strategic plan, we have also been able to take a few moments to reflect on the journey behind us. We are proud to share the work we have accomplished, despite the challenges over the past year.

Today’s post is the third in a four-part series highlighting the department’s progress toward our mission and the goals we have committed to in our strategic plan. In this blog post, I would like to take the opportunity to highlight some of the key achievements over the past year as part of “Strategic Goal 3: Help Idahoans become as healthy and self-sufficient as possible.” This includes work on one of our most urgent priorities: reducing suicide in Idaho. We are also engaging in two areas of groundbreaking preventative work that will help Idahoans live their best lives decades down the road.

Continue reading “An update from DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Working to reduce Idaho’s suicide rate”

Suicide prevention in Idaho: Everyone has a role to play

Even though completed suicides are statistically rare, Idaho continues to have some of the highest rates in the United States. Death by suicide is the second leading cause of death for Idahoans ages 15-34 and for males up to age 54. That is very concerning, but it’s also important to know that most people who make an attempt don’t want to die, they want the pain to go away. Providing care and hope to someone having suicidal thoughts can help save a life. There are things you can do to help.

What are some of the warning signs that someone might be thinking about suicide?

Warning signs include:

  • Talking about wanting to die or completing suicide
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves by searching online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun
  • Isolation and withdrawal
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or trapped
  • Feeling like a burden to others
  • Having consistent nightmares
  • Increasing use of drugs or alcohol
  • Acting anxious or agitated
  • Behaving recklessly
  • Increased aggression, anger, or irritability
  • Change in sleep habits – either too much sleep or too little
  • Extreme mood swings

Continue reading “Suicide prevention in Idaho: Everyone has a role to play”

Rock Your Role this week for suicide prevention

By Kim Kane
Suicide Prevention Program manger, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week and a great time to remember that we all have a role to play in preventing suicide!  Here are some things you can do to make a difference.

Take 5!  Visit and complete the Take 5 Steps.  Through these steps you will,

  1. Learn suicide warning signs
  2. Learn what your role is in preventing suicide
  3. Practice self-care by making mental wellness a priority
  4. Know how to reach out; help is there and recovery is possible
  5. Spread the word for others to Take 5!

Reach out.  Research shows us that people we lose to suicide feel disconnected from others.  Suicide Prevention Week is a good time to think about those in our lives who might be feeling alone and reach out.  A simple text, call or email could make all the difference to someone feeling lonely.  Continue reading “Rock Your Role this week for suicide prevention”

Idaho Suicide Prevention Program’s Kim Kane: “Trust your gut if you are concerned about someone or see signs.”



KaneKimFrom Kim Kane, IDHW Idaho Suicide Prevention Program Manager:

Even for someone who has worked in the field of suicide prevention for many years, it has been distressing to absorb and process the news this week. Any life lost to suicide, whether in Idaho or nationally, is a tragedy.

But with two high-profile suicide deaths this week — fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain — and a new  report  from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing rising suicide rates across the U.S. since 1999,  I encourage you to channel your grief – even if it’s for people you only knew from a television show or a brand name – into understanding more about what you can do to prevent suicide .   Continue reading “Idaho Suicide Prevention Program’s Kim Kane: “Trust your gut if you are concerned about someone or see signs.””

Preventing suicide in Idaho: Rock your role and know the warning signs

RYR Tear PadCompleted suicides are statistically rare, but Idaho has some of the highest rates of suicide in the United States, ranking 5th in the nation in 2015. Though rates are high, it’s important to know that recovery from suicidality is the norm. More than 90 percent of people who make attempts never go on to die by suicide. This week is Suicide Prevention Week, so now is a good time to review how you can Rock Your Role, and help someone who may be struggling with thoughts of killing themselves. Continue reading “Preventing suicide in Idaho: Rock your role and know the warning signs”

Join us May 11 to raise awareness and erase mental health stigma


When it comes to mental health, many people confuse feeling bad with being bad. Mental illness is not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing.

Many factors out of one’s control influence whether someone develops a mental health condition: genetics, environment and lifestyle. Being a victim of a crime or having a stressful work or home life can make some people more susceptible.

Yet even though most people with mental illness can be successfully treated and live productive lives, less than half of the adults in the U.S. who need services or treatment get the help that can make a difference.

One reason: Stigma. The isolation, blame, fear and secrecy that is often associated with mental illness can discourage people from reaching out, getting the needed support and getting healthy. Continue reading “Join us May 11 to raise awareness and erase mental health stigma”

Preventing suicide in Idaho

Idaho and the mountain western states continually rank in the top 10 states for number of completed suicides per capita. But the good news is that completed suicides are not the norm – well over 90 percent of people who make attempts do not die by suicide. And with the creation of the Suicide Prevention Program in the Department of Health and Welfare during the last legislative session, the state of Idaho has made preventing suicide a priority.

Tell us about where we are with the Suicide Prevention Program.

We just got the funding to start up the program on July 1, and we have hired three staff, including program manager Kim Kane. We’re very excited about her leadership and expertise in the program. We have one more position to hire for, and then we can turn our energy to youth suicide prevention and intervention activities and public awareness. So you’ll likely be hearing more from us about suicide prevention as the program gets up and running. Meet Kim as she introduces the state’s suicide prevention program at a recent press conference hosted by the City of Boise and the Speedy Foundation.  Continue reading “Preventing suicide in Idaho”