A message from DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Help and treatment is available.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a behavioral health crisis such as suicidal thoughts or withdrawal from drugs, behavioral health crisis phone lines and community crisis centers are available to help.

We are focused on behavioral health in Idaho.

If there was ever a time that tested our collective mental health, it has been during this global pandemic. The pandemic has intensified feelings of isolation and anxiety.

Life is hard enough, and COVID-19 didn’t make it any easier. May is the time for us to raise awareness, and Idaho is committed to helping people with mental or behavioral health issues.

In February 2020, Gov. Brad Little, all five Idaho Supreme Court Justices, and the Idaho Legislature signed documents (the Governor’s Executive Order, the Supreme Court Proclamation and Order, and the legislative Concurrent Resolution) establishing and supporting the Idaho Behavioral Health Council, a new three-branch approach to improve care for Idahoans with mental health and substance use disorders.

I am the co-chair of this council along with Sara Omundson, administrative director of the state courts. As a group, we are focused on creating a strategic plan for Idaho. An initial draft of the plan will be published on our web page on May 21. You can submit public comments on the plan through the email link on the website. There will be a public comments event on June 1 at 5 p.m. (MDT). The strategic plan will be published by the end of June and will then be presented to the governor, supreme court justices, and legislature. The Idaho Behavioral Health Council will be responsible for oversight of the implementation of the plan.

In Idaho, residents can find information about behavioral health programs on the DHW website. Programs include:

Reminder: If you or someone you know is experiencing a behavioral health crisis such as suicidal thoughts or withdrawal from drugs, behavioral health crisis phone lines and community crisis centers are available to help.

  • Northern Idaho Crisis Center: 208-625-4884
  • Western Idaho Community Crisis Center: 208-402-1044
  • Pathways Community Crisis Center of Southwest Idaho: 208-489-8311
  • South East Idaho Behavioral Crisis Center: 208-909-5177
  • Behavioral Health Crisis Center of East Idaho: 208-522-0727
  • Crisis Center of South Central Idaho: 208-772-7825
  • Rural Crisis Center Network: 877-897-9027

There is special assistance available to those with COVID-related behavioral health issues:

The Idaho Behavioral Health Council wants all Idahoans to have a better quality of life and to make our communities healthier and safer places to live for all.

I hope you all have a safe and healthy weekend.

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