SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD) — The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced that it will be joining the Operation Disrupt initiative Wednesday.
According to an Illinois press release, IDNR will be posting mental health support information in at least 17 sites around Illinois. The signs will display the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number and website, both of which are available 24 hours a day.
Operation Disrupt is an initiative to address the growing epidemic of teen and young adult suicides.
“Illinois state parks and trails are a beautiful, peaceful respite for hundreds of thousands of visitors every year,” said IDNR Director Colleen Callahan. “As IDNR continues to remind people that spending time in nature has positive mental health benefits, it’s also vital that we make sure people who may find themselves in a mental or emotional crisis at a state park know about resources that are available to help them.”
The first 17 IDNR sites to post Operation Disrupt signs include:
- Dixon Springs
- Eagle Creek
- Fort Massac
- Fox Ridge
- Giant City
- Pere Marquette
- Rock Cut
- Sangchris Lake
- Starved Rock
- Wolf Creek state park
- Eldon Hazlet
- Moraine View
- Shabbona Lake state recreation area
- Trail of Tears State Forest
- Golconda Marina
- Shelbyville State Fish and Wildlife Area.
“One sobering aspect of conservation police work is that officers will most likely encounter a suicide in a state park at some point in their career,” Illinois Conservation Police Director Jed Whitchurch said. “We want to do everything we can to ensure people in crisis have access to help, even in the most remote areas of the state. Proper crisis training for officers and the Operation Disrupt signs are two important steps toward that goal.”
National Suicide Prevention Week is Sept. 4-10.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached by dialing 988. The Lifeline also can be reached at 800-273-8255 (TALK). More information is also available online.