Eye On Boise

Idaho has just one psychiatrist per 20,000 people

Idaho has only one psychiatrist per 20,000 people in the state, Jeralyn Jones of the University of Washington Psychiatric Residency, a four-year program, told legislative budget writers this morning. At the same time, in 2012, more U.S. veterans died from suicide than died in combat, she said. “That’s a really sad statistic,” Jones said, and one that shows the need for mental health care and more psychiatrists.  She said the residency program is making a difference, attracting bright young psychiatrists to train in Idaho. “I’m proud of our state for doing something about this,” she said. “We’re the envy of Wyoming, the envy of Montana.”

Health education programs including WWAMI, family medical residencies and psychiatric residencies were up for budget hearings in JFAC this morning. Dr. Ted Epperly of the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho told JFAC that getting young doctors to do their residency training in the state is a prime way to attract them to settle and practice here. Showing a photo of Idaho scenery, Epperly said, “If we can get people to come to Idaho, we’ve got a better than average chance of keeping them in our state.”

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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