From IDHW’s Todd Hurt, administrator 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.
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.
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 “Mental illness is normal in our society, and it’s also normal to have a life of recovery”→
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.
When it comes to mental health, many people confuse feeling bad with being bad. Mental illness is not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing.
Many factors out of one’s control influence whether someone develops a mental health condition: genetics, environment and lifestyle. Being a victim of a crime or having a stressful work or home life can make some people more susceptible.
Yet even though most people with mental illness can be successfully treated and live productive lives, less than half of the adults in the U.S. who need services or treatment get the help that can make a difference.
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 “Preventing suicide in Idaho”→
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.
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.”
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 “It’s National Recovery Month. Will you help reduce stigma?”→
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 “‘Don’t judge’: Celebrate recovery in Idaho at the Statehouse on Sept. 8”→