Thursday, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced that a new Behavioral Health Community Crisis Center will be built in Idaho Falls.
The center is scheduled to operate 365 days a year and will provide assistance to mental health patients who are in crisis situations.
The facility will also serve as a safety net to treat at-risk mentally ill people whose symptoms land them in hospitals or in jail.
This year lawmakers approved over $2 million in funding for the center. The other cities in the running were Boise and Coeur d'Alene.
A full statement from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is below:
A new regional behavioral health crisis center will be located in Idaho Falls, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter announced this morning at the Idaho Falls Regional Airport.
Idahoans experiencing a behavioral health crisis often are incarcerated, hospitalized or treated in hospital emergency departments because an appropriate level of care to meet their needs is unavailable. The crisis center will be a place to go voluntarily and where people in crisis will be able to access services they need, get stabilized and leave with a treatment plan.
“Our plan is for the state to provide start-up funding and then to build community partnerships for long-term sustainability,” Governor Otter said. “This crisis center – and others we hope to develop – will be modeled on the best practices of other states where such plans have been successful. We’re hoping for similarly encouraging outcomes here, with communities joining in these investments as they see declining use of local emergency rooms, hospital beds and jail cells.”
A committee of professionals including behavioral health, finance and research considered responses to a request for information from three communities: Idaho Falls, Boise and Coeur d’Alene. The decision to place the crisis center in Idaho Falls was based on the outstanding community and legislative support from the Idaho Falls area and surrounding eastern Idaho community.
Data gathered from this center’s operations will be used to evaluate the need and resources necessary to set up other centers in other communities if the funding is available.
“It was an extremely difficult decision to make because there is a great need in all three of these communities for a crisis center,” said Ross Edmunds, administrator for the Division of Behavioral Health at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. “We’re grateful for the funding we received. We anticipate the information gathered from the center will demonstrate the effectiveness of the model and lead to the development of additional crisis centers in the state.”
The Idaho Legislature appropriated $1.52 million in ongoing State general funds and $600,000 in one-time federal money for the center in the 2014 session.
Once it is established, the center will be accessible to all residents on a voluntary basis. It will operate around the clock, every day of the year and will be available to provide evaluation, intervention and referral for people experiencing a crisis because of serious mental illness or substance use disorder.