DHW social workers “Stand Up” for Idahoans every day


March is Social Work Month, a nationwide campaign to recognize and better educate the public about the professionally trained and certified social workers who “stand up” for vulnerable people every day, including the more than 300 social workers employed statewide by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW).

DHW social workers serve in a variety of roles and job titles across several of the department’s divisions, including Family and Community Services, Behavioral Health, Licensing and Certification, Medicaid and Welfare. They come into daily contact with vulnerable Idahoans who are seeking help, comforting people who are experiencing illness, mental health crises and substance use issues and ensuring they receive the correct care, resources and assistance on the road to recovery.

For example, child and family social workers at IDHW stand up by protecting Idaho children who have been abused or neglected, helping displaced children find a nurturing environment through foster families, re-unification or adoption, and working to ensure young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Continue reading

Mental health resources are available for Idahoans in flooded and damaged areas

Idaho’s behavioral health officials would like to remind Idahoans that resources are available for those who are feeling overwhelmed by the effects of heavy snowfall and flooding.

Almost half of the counties in Idaho have been issued a state disaster declaration. Flooding is expected to continue and may even worsen in the weeks to come as temperatures increase and cause additional snow melt.

“It’s normal for people of all ages to feel a lot of stress and anxiety after a natural disaster such as a flood,” said Ross Edmunds, administrator of the Division of Behavioral Health in the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. “Natural disasters can have profound effects on people‘s employment, mobility, well-being, relationships, and mental health, especially as they move beyond the flooding and are working on recovering their regular lives, property, and their relationships.” Continue reading

‘It’s About Me!’ highlights children in the developmental disabilities program



A love of all animals, Star Wars, Boise State University, being an artist, a winking rainbow, doing gymnastics, reading “millions of books,” dancing — these are the things children in the Developmental Disabilities Program think of when they  describe themselves and their interests.

This is the first year for the Idaho Children’s art contest highlighting children who receive developmental disability services throughout the state.

“We want to highlight the children in our program, because they are the reason we come to work each day,” said Sarah Allen, a supervisor in the Children’s Developmental Disabilities Program in the Department of Health and Welfare. “This contest showcased the kids in our program — their interests, strengths, talents, and future aspirations. It was really fun learning more about the kids we serve.”  Continue reading

Idaho honors its first Champion and Advocates for Recovery

Recovery efforts in Idaho would not be successful without the important leadership, passion, and hard work of some tireless people in communities around the state. Those individuals were honored and recognized today at a celebration of recovery awareness in the Lincoln Auditorium at the State Capitol.

Idaho named its first Champion of Recovery as well as Advocates for Recovery from around the state. They all were nominated by their communities.


Darrell Keim

Champion Darrell Keim was chosen for his work in the “development, formation and realization of the Latah Recovery Center in Moscow.” His nomination called him “the face of the recovery community in our rural college community.”

“I’m deeply honored by the recognition,” Keim said. “Our whole committee has worked hard on this project.”

The Latah Recovery Center opened in September 2015.  Continue reading

It’s National Recovery Month. Will you help reduce stigma?

September is National Recovery Month, and it’s a good time to talk about mental illness and substance use disorders so we can help fight the stigma associated with them. The more comfortable people are about talking about those conditions, the more likely they will seek treatment. You can support recovery publicly by attending a celebration of recovery at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in the Lincoln Auditorium at the Idaho Statehouse. Lt. Gov. Brad Little will present a proclamation and Idaho’s first Champion of Recovery will be presented with an award.

How do we know if someone is in recovery?

Recovery is an ongoing process that includes a person’s entire mental well-being, and how well they can function on a daily basis. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight and it’s not guaranteed that someone will stay in recovery once they’ve achieved it. It is a life-long process that depends on many things, including robust recovery support systems. People who have a good support system are better able to maintain recovery.  Continue reading

‘Don’t judge’: Celebrate recovery in Idaho at the Statehouse on Sept. 8

Recovery from a substance use disorder or mental illness is a life-long journey that begins when a person decides to improve their health and wellness and live a self-directed life so they can reach their full potential. It’s not easy, and it’s not quick.

And it’s definitely worth celebrating.

September is Recovery Awareness Month in Idaho and across the nation. This year’s theme is “Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery!”

Idaho will celebrate recovery awareness at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 8 in the Lincoln Auditorium at the Idaho State Capitol. The public is invited.

Lt. Gov. Brad Little will present a proclamation declaring September as Recovery Awareness Month in Idaho. Participants will hear from Idahoans Trinity Bailey, Garri Ann Biggers, and Michelle McMillan, who are in recovery. In addition, seven Regional Advocates for Recovery from across the state will be recognized, and an award will be presented to the very first Idaho Champion of Recovery.  Continue reading

State Hospital South celebrates 130 years of service


State Hospital South in Blackfoot will mark 130 years of service during a celebration Wednesday, July 13, in the cemetery, which now has a headstone for each grave.

State Hospital South in Blackfoot has come a long way since it was established in July 1886 as the Idaho Insane Asylum with 36 “inmates” (26 men and 10 women) who were transferred from an asylum in Oregon.

SHS_AnniversaryInviteWebIt’s been 130 years since the hospital first opened its doors and offered a place to live and work for nearly 29,000 patients with mental health issues over the years. The hospital will celebrate all of those years of service from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 13, at the State Hospital South Cemetery on Cromwell Lane in Blackfoot, Idaho. The celebration will include a dedication of the final set of headstones to be installed in the cemetery, as well as presentations from students who are related to hospital staff. They will share stories about some of the patients who lived at the hospital between 1891 and the early 1980s and who are buried in the cemetery. Continue reading