Govt. Brad Little highlights Idaho’s behavioral health resources

During the recently-concluded legislative session, Idaho lawmakers approved all of Little’s ‘Leading Idaho’ proposals for increased behavioral health resources.

BOISE, Idaho — Gov. Brad Little on Tuesday hosted a ceremonial signing for his Leading Idaho behavioral health legislation, joined by Idaho Supreme Court justices, legislators, and members of the Little administration.

During the recently-concluded legislative session, Idaho lawmakers approved all of Little’s ‘Leading Idaho’ proposals for increased behavioral health resources.

“Promoting safe communities is our top priority,” Little said. “Our vision is for Idahoans who live with mental illness and addiction – and their families – to receive the behavioral health care services they need when they need them. We believe if this vision is realized, then our communities will become healthier, safer places. “

The approved proposals were created by recommendations from the Idaho Behavioral Health Council’s strategic plan. During Tuesday’s ceremonial signing, Little highlighted multiple behavioral health proposals to pass through the legislative session.

First, Idaho is joining the new national suicide and crisis lifeline, which expands from the current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in Idaho. The new suicide and crisis lifeline ‘988,’ connects Idahoans to care and support amid thoughts of suicide.

9-8-8 becomes live July 16 and is available to anyone experiencing mental health or substance use crisis, on top of thoughts of suicide. Govt. Little recommended $4.4 million in funding for the resource, which was appropriated by the Idaho Legislature for Fiscal Year 2023.

Little also applauded the addition of community behavioral health clinics, which give individuals in crisis the opportunity for stabilization and necessary treatment when dealing with complex mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

Govt. Little recommended $6 million in funding to explore the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) model, which was appropriated by the Idaho Legislature for Fiscal Year 2023.

Idaho’s increase in behavioral health support also includes recovery centers for critical services for people in recovery from substance use disorders or behavioral health.

The $900,000 in funding for the recovery centers comes from the Millennial Fund, which was also appropriated by the Idaho Legislature for Fiscal Year 2023.

In Fiscal Year 2022, Little recommended $15 million for psychiatric residential care facilities and programs. The one-time general funds allow Idaho to bring children receiving the services in other states, back to the Gem State.

Tuesday’s ceremony also touched on Idaho adding safe teen reception centers, providing a placement option for arrested or runaway youth. The program connects their families with “long term community-based resources avoiding further entrance into the juvenile and justice child welfare systems.”

A supplemental $6.5 million one-time funding will be given to the Department of Juvenile Corrections Fiscal Year 2022 budget for the safe teen reception centers.

The final behavior health priority highlighted by Gov. Little on Tuesday was youth crisis centers for youth safety, stabilization and case management services across Idaho.

A supplemental $4.4 million one-time funding will be given to the Department of Juvenile Corrections Fiscal Year 2022 budget for the youth crisis centers.

“This has been a historic three-branch collaboration to study the state behavioral health delivery system and improve care for Idahoans with mental health and substance use disorders,” Little said. “Never before have the executive, legislative, and judicial branches come together to make a shared vision on behavioral health become reality.”

The Behavioral Health Council — a three-branch council — was established in 2020. An executive order by Gov. Little created the council and the Idaho Supreme Court also issued a proclamation at the time and the legislature passed a concurrent resolution, to support creating the council.

A full breakdown of the Idaho Behavioral Health Council’s recommendations included in Gov. Little’s Fiscal Year 2023 ‘Leading Idaho’ Executive Budget successfully appropriated by the Idaho Legislature can be found by clicking this link.

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