Living with – and safely treating – chronic pain

ChronicPainSometimes we blame it on age, a friendly basketball game that got a little too competitive or simply just not being in great physical condition, but just about everyone feels a little pain now and then. But what about when the pain doesn’t go away even after the injury heals? September is Pain Awareness Month, so it’s a good time to understand what chronic pain is, how it can interfere with daily life, and the safest ways to treat and manage chronic pain. Continue reading

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Pathways Community Crisis Center set to open in December

The Department of Health and Welfare is pleased to announce that Pathways Community Crisis Center is on track to open in early December in Boise. Pathways of Idaho has been awarded the contract to operate the community crisis center, which is the fourth to open in the state.

“Community crisis centers are critical access points to services for individuals experiencing a mental health or substance-use crisis,” said DHW Director Russ Barron. “Pathways Community Crisis Center will fill a much-needed service gap in the Treasure Valley, and I am grateful for the Legislative and community support for all of the community crisis centers across the state.”

The crisis center will provide assessment, intervention, and referral services to individuals 18 years and older who are experiencing a crisis related to mental health or substance-use disorders. The facility, at 7192 Potomac Drive, Boise, is centrally positioned and accessible by public transportation.

The overarching goal of the crisis center is to work collaboratively with local law enforcement, hospitals, social service entities, and other community partners to provide a supportive and more cost-effective approach to crisis services. Services will be available around the clock 365 days a year and will be accessed either by self-referral or referral by family, friends, law enforcement, or other concerned community members. Continue reading

“When I was 15, I broke my pinky and the doctor prescribed hydrocodone. And I loved them.” Idahoans talk about #Recovery

The 2nd annual Recovery Month Awards and Proclamation celebration was held Sept. 1, 2017 at the Idaho State Capitol to kick off national Recovery Month this month, dedicated to strengthening families and communities through hope for recovery from drug, alcohol and substance use addiction and mental illness.

During the program, several Idahoans spoke about their personal journey to recovery and how it has impacted their lives, families and communities. Continue reading

September is National Recovery Month: Strengthen families & communities through addiction recovery

082317RecoverySeptember is National Recovery Month and it’s is a good time to talk about mental illness and substance use disorders with the hope that every time we talk about them, a little more of the stigma associated with them disappears. We also want to invite everyone to join us this Friday, Sept. 1, at 12:30 p.m. at the Idaho State Capitol for our 2nd Annual Recovery Month Awards and Proclamation celebration, where you will hear from some of the Idaho voices for recovery. Continue reading

A gift of generosity and recovery at State Hospital North for Mental Health Awareness Month

From IDHW’s Todd Hurt, administrator of State Hospital North

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IDHW State Hospital North Director Todd Hurt and NAMI far North President Virginia “Gini” Woodward with new donated Frisbee disc golf baskets on the grounds of State Hospital North.

OROFINO, Idaho – On a beautiful, blue-sky May day, there was a feeling of gratitude flowing through State Hospital North. The first reason for the gratitude was that it had been a long fall, cold winter and wet spring. The second is that patients were able to get out on the grounds during that beautiful day and play Frisbee disc golf. This disc golf was even more special given that we used new disc golf baskets donated to the hospital from NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) far North.

We have played disc golf for years at the hospital. It’s a great therapy tool that can be used for increasing mood, allowing for exercise, socialization, and joy. Continue reading

Mental illness is normal in our society, and it’s also normal to have a life of recovery

Today (May 11, 2017) the Idaho Division of Behavioral Health hosted an event recognizing Mental Health Awareness month and several Idahoans who are working to support recovery and end the stigma about mental illness. So, let’s talk about the reality of mental health. 

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Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little presented the 2017 Mental Health Awareness month proclamation at a public event in the Idaho Statehouse May 11, 2017.

Millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition, which is challenging enough. Add to that the stigma associated with mental illness, and it can cause people to avoid help and treatment. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so it’s a great time to talk about it and help put an end to the stigma about mental health issues.

How many people really are dealing with a mental illness?

Generally, 1 in 5 adults and children have a diagnosable mental illness. That makes mental illness more common than cancer, diabetes, or even heart disease, and yet we hear much more about those diseases than we do about mental health. That’s why this month is so important. About half of the adults in the U.S. will develop a mental illness at some point in their lives. Mental illness is normal in our society. It’s also normal to live a life of recovery. Continue reading

Voice of Idaho award winner Lisa Koller: “Today my life is to help people overcome the stigma”

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May is national Mental Health Awareness month, and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is joining with Idaho Regional Behavioral Health Boards around the state to commend individuals who have worked hard to reduce the stigma around mental health and volunteered in their communities to inspire hope, recovery and resiliency.

The winner of IDHW’s first-annual Voice of Idaho award, Lisa Koller, is one of those individuals. Part of her journey to recovery and dedicating her life to helping others with mental illness was inspired by receiving help from an Idaho peer support specialist after she graduated from Mental Health Court in 2007. Lisa now works as a peer support specialist and recovery coach at The Center for HOPE recovery center in Idaho Falls.

Read more below about Idaho’s program of certified peer support specialists from Idaho Division of Behaviorial Health Administrator Ross Edmunds, and Lisa Koller’s personal story of her struggles with substance use disorder and mental illness as recounted in her own words:   Continue reading