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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Nonprofits get $1.3 million donation to address mental health in rural Idaho

A group of nonprofits received $1.3 million this week to meet the urgent mental and behavioral health needs in rural Idaho.

Cambia Health Solutions, a healthcare corporation that owns multiple companies, announced Wednesday that it donated the money to four nonprofits.

The largest donation, $1 million, went to the Idaho Primary Care Association, a nonprofit group for Idaho’s community health centers. The money will go toward expanding access to mental health services, increasing long-term capacity through workforce development and reducing stigma around mental health issues, according to Yvonne Ketchum-Ward, CEO of the association.

NAMI Idaho received $145,700 to hire staff to grow its peer support network, including a peer coordinator for youth and college outreach, a coordinator to engage with law enforcement supporting crisis intervention team trainings, and a staff person to help with administrative needs, according to board president Christina Cernansky.

The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline operates 24/7 via phone, text and web chat, providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention support. The hotline received $100,000. Idaho has struggled with high suicide rates for years, with Coeur d’Alene’s suicide rate in 2017 above the statewide incident rate, according to numbers provided by Kootenai County.

The donation to the suicide prevention hotline will provide for a digital marketing campaign and public service announcements in rural Idaho, promote messages destigmatizing asking for help, and help create partnerships with existing organizations in rural communities.

Empower Idaho received $100,000 to expand its work addressing social determinants of health – economic, educational and community factors that play into people’s health status.

The donations in Idaho are part of a larger $11.5 million series of donations by Cambia Health Solutions throughout Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington.