Preventing suicide in Idaho

Idaho and the mountain western states continually rank in the top 10 states for number of completed suicides per capita. But the good news is that completed suicides are not the norm – well over 90 percent of people who make attempts do not die by suicide. And with the creation of the Suicide Prevention Program in the Department of Health and Welfare during the last legislative session, the state of Idaho has made preventing suicide a priority.

Tell us about where we are with the Suicide Prevention Program.

We just got the funding to start up the program on July 1, and we have hired three staff, including program manager Kim Kane. We’re very excited about her leadership and expertise in the program. We have one more position to hire for, and then we can turn our energy to youth suicide prevention and intervention activities and public awareness. So you’ll likely be hearing more from us about suicide prevention as the program gets up and running. Meet Kim as she introduces the state’s suicide prevention program at a recent press conference hosted by the City of Boise and the Speedy Foundation.  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

Mental health is fundamental to our overall health

Millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. That means you probably know someone or are yourself living with a mental health condition. Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, 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 conditions. That’s why this month is so important. About half of the adults in the United States will develop a mental illness at some point in their lives. It is normal in our society for people to have or develop a mental illness. It’s also normal to live a life of recovery. Continue reading

HHS week continues at JFAC with three more budget requests

Administrators for Medicaid, Mental Health Services and Healthcare Policy Initiatives presented the governor’s budget recommendations this morning before the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee. Links to their slides are below: