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Idaho mental health organizations hosting upcoming events for suicide prevention

Leaders of mental health organizations across Idaho are highlighting available resources and events as part of September’s National Suicide Prevention and Recovery Month, according to a press release. (Getty Images)

Leaders of mental health organizations across Idaho are highlighting available resources and events as part of September’s National Suicide Prevention and Recovery Month, according to a press release. Mental Health America ranks Idaho among the highest in the country for prevalence of mental illness, but lowest for access to resources and support.

Several Idaho organizations are working to increase access to resources and to provide education that will help destigmatize mental illness. The Idaho chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness, Idaho Primary Care Association, Empower Idaho and the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline have received funding from Cambia Health Solutions to address mental and behavioral health needs in Idaho that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. That funding allowed the National Alliance for Mental Illness chapter in Idaho to hire its first staff since 2008, including local nonprofit consultant Beth Markley as executive director.

In the release, Markley said nearly half of the alliance’s contacts in Idaho are families in crisis, and she hopes the organization’s family education and support programs will expand to meet that demand.

“More than half of Idaho’s teenagers who have depression did not receive any care last year,” she said. “When a child struggles with mental illness, the whole family struggles.”

Alex London, who is chairperson of the board for the Treasure Valley affiliate of the National Alliance for Mental Illness, said in the release that its recent growth has included new office space for trainings, groups and classes, as well as a partnership with Rainbow Circle Treasure Valley, an LGBTQA+-specific mental health support group.

Through the rest of September and leading up to World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10, Idaho’s National Alliance for Mental Illness will offer several programs and events, including:

  • 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sept. 29 – Community Resiliency Model Training, which trains community members to help themselves and others within their wider social network. The primary focus of this skills-based, stabilization program is to reset the natural balance of the nervous system.
  • 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 – Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training: a two-day face-to-face workshop wherein participants learn how to prevent suicide by recognizing signs, providing a skilled intervention, and developing a safety plan to keep someone alive.
  • 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 am, Oct. 2 – NAMI Idaho FaithNet Breakfast: a gathering of interfaith leaders focused on reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness and supporting individuals and families within their faith communities who are dealing with mental health concerns or diagnoses.
  • 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., Oct. 2 – NAMI Walks Your Way Idaho, a pledged walk/run event seeking to raise funds for NAMI Idaho (event is open to in-person and virtual participation).
  • 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Oct. 2 – Question, Persuade, Refer: a 90-minute training to prepare the everyday person to recognize signs of suicide, and to step in to support those who may be struggling.
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