SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WEHT) – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources have joined a new campaign in honor of National Suicide Prevention Week which lasts from September 4-10.
“I am so pleased that IDNR and the Conservation Police are joining the Operation Disrupt initiative. They are outstanding partners in the fight against teen and young adult suicide,” said Officer Thomas Wronski of the Naperville Park District Police and one of the founders of Operation Disrupt. “Operation Disrupt is growing in visibility and influence because it is a practical, easy-to-implement program that can be adapted to the different needs of organizations and their unique locations.”
Operation Disrupt is a suicide prevention initiative that posts signs in Illinois state parks that display the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number and website.
The campaign’s goal is to post the signs in remote IDNR locations around Illinois in the hopes of addressing 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 initiative has posted 17 signs so far in: Dixon Springs, Eagle Creek, Fort Massac, Fox Ridge, Giant City, Pere Marquette, Rock Cut, Sangchris Lake, Starved Rock and Wolf Creek state parks; Eldon Hazlet, Kickapoo, Moraine View, and Shabbona Lake state recreation areas; Trail of Tears State Forest; Golconda Marina; and Shelbyville State Fish and Wildlife Area.
“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,” said Illinois Conservation Police Director Jed Whitchurch. “Proper crisis training for officers and the Operation Disrupt signs are two important steps toward that goal.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached round-the-clock by dialing 988 or (800)-273-8255 to connect callers to a certified crisis center near them. More information can be found here.