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Posts tagged: mental health

CdA had highest score for crisis center, but lost out due to local lawmakers’ opposition

Coeur d’Alene actually had the highest score in the competition for a state mental health crisis center by a slim margin, Coeur d’Alene Press reporter Taryn Thompson reports today, but lost out to Idaho Falls because North Idaho lawmakers didn’t support the project. North Idaho Reps. Kathy Sims, Vito Barbieri, and Ron Mendive and Sen. Bob Nonini all voted against SB 1352, which passed the House 28-6 and the Senate 53-14 and sought to establish three of the centers. JFAC approved funding for just one in the first year, putting three locations – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls and Boise – in competition for it.

Thompson reported that the Department of Health & Welfare scored the competing proposals, then worked with the governor’s office to make the final choice. “The fact that a majority of legislators in eastern Idaho wanted the project helped in the final decision,” Otter’s press secretary, Jon Hanian, told the Press; he cited a “proven level of legislative support in eastern Idaho.”

You can read Thompson’s full report here; she obtained the scoring data through a public records request under the Idaho Public Records Act. Over the weekend, Thompson reported on the magnitude of the mental health crisis in North Idaho that had local officials hoping for funding for a 24-hour crisis center; see that report here. Letters in support of the Coeur d’Alene crisis center were signed by the county commissions and sheriffs of all five North Idaho Panhandle counties.

Barbieri told Thompson that law enforcement and others don’t need to “panic or specifically worry.” He said, “If it turns out that there's as dire a need here as opposed to somewhere else in the state, they'll get it. … Of course, with a bureaucrat, they all need it right away.”

Boise, Idaho Falls and CdA vie for $1.5M mental health crisis center

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare says a decision about where to build a $1.5 million state-funded behavioral-health crisis center will likely be within a week. Spokeswoman Niki Forbing-Orr tells the Post Register (http://www.postregister.com) that a committee is reviewing proposals from three cities. Idaho Falls in eastern Idaho, Boise in southwestern Idaho, and Coeur d'Alene in northern Idaho are vying for the center that would serve as a safety net to treat at-risk mentally ill people whose symptoms often land them in hospitals or jail. Health and Welfare requested from state lawmakers $600,000 in startup money and $4.56 million to operate three crisis centers. Lawmakers earlier this year approved the $600,000 grant, but they reduced operations funding to $1.52 million, enough for only one crisis center.

Idaho prisons see jump in inmate suicide attempts

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Department of Correction officials say they're seeing an increase in attempted suicides and other mental health problems within the state's prisons and jails. Department Director Brent Reinke told Board of Correction members Thursday that in the last month guards found four inmates “hanging from sheets” at facilities around the state. One of those inmates — a man housed at the Nez Perce County Jail who was about to return to prison — died before guards found him. The remaining three were found and rescued. Reinke says the number of inmates showing signs of suicidal behavior or other mental health problems has also risen. He says that in June, the department tallied 78 reports of inmate problems or unusual behavior, compared to 56 in June of 2012.

Click below for a full report from AP reporter Rebecca Boone.

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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