COVID-19 pandemic is causing behavioral health challenges for Idahoans. We can help!

As we near the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic in Idaho, it’s important for everyone to know that feeling a little down or unmotivated is not unusual at this point. It’s been a long year, and we still have a ways to go before things get back to normal.

The Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) in the Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) is continually thinking about how to better serve the evolving needs of mental health providers and the public, especially during this pandemic. DBH created a statewide COVID19 Strike Team in April 2020 that meets a few times a week to address our needs during the growing public and behavioral health emergency related to the pandemic.

DBH has a variety of services to offer Idahoans who might be struggling with the stress of the pandemic.

Feeling stressed by the pandemic and need someone to talk to? As Idahoans feel the many impacts of COVID-19, the need increases for behavioral health support and services. The COVID Help Now Line offers statewide support for anyone challenged by the stress associated with this global pandemic.

The COVID Help Now Line is staffed 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. seven days a week with crisis counselors who will assist anyone in need by providing emotional support, identifying local area resources, recommending online resources and connecting callers with community behavioral health resources. Seven regional crisis community resource specialists, one in each of Idaho’s seven local behavioral health regions, are serving as boots-on-the ground during these trying times.

Support provided on the COVID Help Now Line is anonymous. Responders do not classify, label, or diagnose people, and no records or case files are kept. It is also accessible to people who are hearing and speech impaired via TTY and TRS services.

Call or Text 986-867-1073, or call toll-free 866-947-5186, or visit www.ioem.idaho.gov/covidhelpnow for more information.

Struggling with addiction? Substance Use Disorder (SUD) services are available for qualifying Idahoans who have been affected by COVID-19.

Who is eligible?

Uninsured residents of Idaho impacted by COVID-19. This includes anyone who has been impacted in any way by COVID-19 and is not limited to those who have contracted the illness. 
  • Individuals who meet the income guidelines (earn less than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Limit).

What services are available? Among others, they include:

  • Social detox
  • Outpatient services
  • Inpatient services (limited availability)
  • Drug Testing
  • Safe and Sober Housing
  • Case Management

How to access these services?

  • Any uninsured resident of Idaho seeking SUD services should call BPA Health at 1-800-922-3406 to determine eligibility. If eligible, a comprehensive assessment will be scheduled with a SUD treatment professional so a treatment plan can be developed. There is no cost for qualifying Idahoans.

Are you a frontline worker and in need of self-care?  The Coronavirus Counseling Assistance for Frontline Workers (CCAFW) program offers counseling assistance and services for frontline workers who are affected by the stressors brought about by COVID-19. Frontline workers are people who, through their employment, are experiencing secondary traumatic stress reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic, and include, but are not limited to, medical professionals, first responders, counselors, hospital employees, and anyone else whose job means they must work face-to-face with the public.

Services provided include:

  • Screening and Benefit Navigation — This service is for people with insurance, including Medicaid. This program assists in benefit navigation and provides referrals to behavioral health resources. 
  • 5-Sesssion Professional Assistance Program — This service is for people who do not have access to behavioral health services through their current benefits or have significant financial or other barriers to those benefits. The program offers up to five sessions of confidential assessment and brief solution-focused problem intervention provided by licensed, professional counselors. Sessions are offered via telehealth services or, when appropriate given social distancing measures, face-to-face. Sessions can be individual, couples, or family counseling.

For more information about the program, call 1-866-536-0239.

Give us a ring. If you are feeling stressed or need some help, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone – we are here for you. You can call or text the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline if you feel like you might hurt yourself at 208-398-4357, or the division’s crisis line at 208-788-3596 for English, or 208-578-4114 for bilingual. Both are available 24-7.

Stay in touch – share your ideas, concerns, and vision of what you need and how you find joy in the midst of a pandemic by emailing  BehavioralHealth@dhw.idaho.gov

Stay up to date on Idaho Behavioral Health news, including the latest announcements about COVID-19 services and resources, by signing up on the Behavioral Health tab at coronavirus.idaho.gov.  

Danielle Pere is a bureau chief in the Division of Behavioral Health and oversees the programs and operations of the Central Office in Boise.

Resources

Stay up-to-date with the latest and most accurate information on COVID-19 at the following websites:

Follow us! DHW also posts lots of information, including daily updates on the numbers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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