Mental Health

Boise Hive

A Boise nonprofit got a makeover and is ready to share its updated building with the community. The Boise Hive is celebrating its updated space with an open house Thursday from 5-9 p.m.

The Hive opened its doors on the Bench two years ago. The nonprofit serves musicians, offering rehearsal and recording space – but also mental health counseling for those struggling with issues like depression and anxiety.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Two Ada County sheriff’s deputies last week shot and killed 53-year-old Lee Easter in his southwest Boise home. Easter was, at the time, reportedly suicidal. The deputies say they tried to talk to him but that Easter pointed a handgun at them and they fired. That shooting is being investigated by the Ada County Critical Incident Task Force and being led by the Boise Police Department.

Tabby Haskett / facebook.com/maniacphotography

The North Idaho town of Orofino has asked the Idaho legislature to create a specialty license plate for its high school. No other Idaho high school has its own license plate. The bill has passed the House despite some stiff opposition.

Orofino is home to a state mental hospital and many people see the local school mascot, the “Maniacs” as an offensive caricature. The image is a wild-haired, screaming cartoon character jumping in the air. It wears what, to many people, looks like a hospital gown.

Boise Hive

The Boise Hive is at a crossroads.

The nonprofit arts organization has until October 9th to raise $75,000. The Hive serves artists and musicians in need of mental health resources. The organization needs the money for a down payment to buy the building they currently rent, which has received an offer from another buyer.  

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The call center at the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline could be a room in any number of businesses. There are four desks, each with a computer and a phone. But the overhead fluorescents are off and the soft light from a few lamps makes it feel more like a therapist’s office. A woman is talking on the phone to someone who says a friend is posting suicidal thoughts on Facebook.

phone, office
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline has received one of its largest grants to date. The nonprofit has been awarded $100,000 from the Idaho Division of Veteran’s Services. The hotline, which started almost three years ago, has grown to a 24/7 service for people dealing with a variety of mental health issues – including suicide.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The City of Boise says the U.S. Department of Justice was incorrect when it accused the city of punishing people for being homeless.

The Department weighed in Thursday on a lawsuit that says homeless people receive tickets for sleeping in public spaces.

It’s a lawsuit that’s been going on since 1980 and it may finally be resolved. Known as the “Jeff D.” lawsuit, it focuses on children’s mental health services in Idaho.

Despite repeated attempts to resolve the 35-year-old case, it keeps coming back. At the core of the issue is Idaho’s system for providing care to kids with mental health problems. The plaintiffs says the state isn’t doing enough for those kids.

Boise State Public Radio

Idaho lawmakers have directed their staff to spend the next nine months studying the state’s contract with Optum Idaho, the company that manages outpatient behavioral health services for Medicaid patients.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The budget for Idaho’s behavioral health division includes funding for a second mental health crisis center.

The Spokesman-Review's Eye on Boise blog reports the Department of Health and Welfare’s budget plan includes $1.7 million for the 24-hour crisis center.

The crisis centers are meant to keep people out of jail or hospital emergency rooms, and instead connect them with appropriate mental health care services.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

The company that manages mental health services for Idaho Medicaid patients is resuming a series of mental health trainings around the state. Optum has been doing what it calls mental health first aid classes for about a year. After taking a few months off, the classes begin in Weiser this Thursday.

Roadsidepictures / Flickr Creative Commons

When someone is experiencing a mental health crisis, police are often among the first groups to respond. The Boise Police Department (BPD) has made an effort to get all its officers trained in how to de-escalate a potentially violent situation and connect those in crisis with the right professional.

As of last fall, the department had fully trained a quarter of its officers in crisis-intervention.

Nearly one year after lawmakers and small business owners cast a critical eye at the contractor managing mental health and substance treatment for Idaho's poor, company officials say approval ratings remain high and problems are few.

Executives from Optum, a unit of UnitedHealth Group, told the House Health and Welfare Committee Wednesday that they had a 95 percent satisfaction rating among members who receive behavioral-health services under Medicaid.

That's according to the most recent sample survey the company sent out to their members.

State of Idaho

A pilot project that could change the way Idahoans get treated during a mental health crisis has opened its doors in eastern Idaho. Officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony in Idaho Falls Monday morning.

telephone, buttons, hotline
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

If you need help, you can contact the hotline by dialing 1-800-273-TALK.

When people in crisis dial the Idaho Suicide Hotline, starting Wednesday, they'll reach someone close to home. The service is marking its second anniversary by expanding to 24-7 coverage.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly a quarter of Idahoans are living with a mental illness. Idaho has one of the highest suicide rates in the country. Nearly 22,500 Idahoans receive mental health treatment through Idaho’s Medicaid program. 

It’s the access to services, and a web of service providers, that have proven difficult for folks in need of care.

All week Boise State Public Radio and the Idaho Statesman have been reporting on Idaho's fragmented, underfunded, and threadbare mental health care system.

We've learned that Idaho doesn't have enough psychiatrists or treatment facilities. It doesn't have enough resources for some of the state's poorest residents.

In Crisis: Idaho Medicaid In Flux Causes A Big Shift In Care

Oct 31, 2014
mental health, in crisis
Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

Nine-year-old Kendra sits in one of the private rooms on the second floor of Boise’s Downtown public library with her community-based rehabilitation services worker, Jennifer Beason.

Beason slides a workbook to Kendra. It is what she calls her feelings journal. “Do you know what relieved is?” she asked.

Without missing a beat, Kendra rattles off examples of feeling relieved.

Gary Raney, sheriff
Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

Idaho prisons, jails and courtrooms aren’t just parts of the criminal justice system. They also have been tasked with providing treatment to Idahoans with mental illness.

'WOW, THAT COULD HAPPEN TO ANYBODY'

Judge Michael Reardon started working at Ada County Mental Health Court seven years ago, in addition to his work as a family-law magistrate judge.

mental health, in crisis, shannon guevara
Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

It’s a sunny September afternoon, and the room is packed. It’s like a movie theater before the lights go down — the buzz of nervous energy, nattering about plans for the weekend, someone lingering in the aisle until the very last minute.

But this isn’t the movies. It’s a courtroom — one where the stakes aren’t just “jail” or “no jail” but are, for many of the people in the room, much deeper.

Idaho has 10 special mental-health courts, where adult felons diagnosed with one of four mental illnesses show up each week to talk to a judge.

Pages