From DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Every day is a great day to give thanks

November 27, 2023
DHW Director Dave Jeppesen

Research shows that taking a few minutes to recognize and express gratitude each day does wonders to improve mood and mindset.

Our minds are wired to watch out for risks and to identify potential problems. This likely comes from our ancient ancestors for whom watching for bears and wolves was much more important than remembering where beautiful flowers were blooming. Taking a few minutes to remember the things that we’re grateful for—not just on Thanksgiving but every day—can dramatically change our mindset, lift our mood, and balance out negative things that all of us experience and feel each day.

There are multiple leadership meetings that DHW holds each week, and in all of these meetings we use the first five or so minutes to share good things that have happened for us either personally or professionally, as individuals or as a group.

During the course of our leadership meetings last week, we heard about people’s Thanksgiving plans and visits with family or friends.

More specific to DHW’s work, we also received word that State Hospital West in Nampa has been accredited after a lengthy and thorough vetting process by the Joint Commission. State Hospital West provides inpatient psychiatric treatment to Idaho’s youth ages 10 to 17, and accreditation means the hospital has demonstrated a commitment to continuous improvement in patient care.

We also heard news this week that State Hospital South in Blackfoot is fully staffed for nurses for the first time in months. Both of these were great news for DHW’s senior leaders, but they’re great for Idahoans as well.

Each week, I’m inspired by the many good things that happen here at DHW and in people’s personal lives.

For me, as I think about this season of Thanksgiving and reflect on my five years of service at DHW, the things I’m most grateful for are my family, friends, and the amazing staff at DHW. I’m continually amazed by the level of commitment DHW’s staff bring to work to help their fellow Idahoans, and the compassionate ways they go about doing their important work.

I’ve had the chance to watch firsthand the direct and often immediate positive impact DHW’s staff has on individuals and families. I’ve often said—and firmly believe—that the staff at DHW are the ones who do the real work. My job is to do everything I can to support them so they can be successful in strengthening the health, safety and independence of Idahoans.

As we do during our leadership meetings at DHW, I’d encourage Idahoans to practice gratitude as part of a daily or weekly routine. Simply think about the things you’re grateful for and share them with a friend, family member, coworker, or neighbor.

I think you’ll be surprised by the impact it’ll have.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you have a safe and healthy week! 

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at 

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