The ways we communicate with each other are changing, and so is an organization that's trying to prevent something that's all too common here in Idaho: death by suicide.

Researchers from the Suicide Prevention Action Network found that in 2015, Idaho had the fifth highest suicide rate in the nation, and was 57 percent higher than the national average.

The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline allows people in crisis to reach out for help by telephone, by text message, and now, online chat.

"We want to be known as a place where people can turn to when they need some help," said George Austin, clinical lead supervisor for the hotline.

They rolled out the new tool at the end of November and have already received around 20 messages.

"Not everybody is really comfortable talking to people," Austin said. "Chat is just another avenue that allows people to reach out. It's a little easier to express yourself with a keyboard than it is to use your thumbs on a phone, so it just gives us another way to connect with people."

it's basically instant messaging. People have the option of chatting anonymously or creating a user name. The service available Monday through Friday 3 p.m. to midnight. But if staffing allows, the chat service sometimes is available in mornings and on weekends.

"Of course we'd like this to be a service that is available 24-7. And long term we're trying to figure out ways to make that happen," Austin said. "Because of the group that we're targeting with this, you know people that would more likely use online emotional support it tends to be younger, so these are people that are in school. So what we're trying to do is make sure that it's available at the times when they can use it most."

If you are in need of support you can always call the hotline at 208-398-4357 or find the chat service here.