From DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Gov. Little’s Leading Idaho plan provides critical funding for behavioral healthcare in Idaho

May 20, 2022
DHW Director Dave Jeppesen

Idaho is doing some incredible work to expand and connect the behavioral health system in the state. The recent addition of crisis centers and recovery centers has moved the behavioral health system forward, however, there is still much work to do.  

As you may have read in a previous blog post, the Idaho Behavioral Health Council is leading this work. The council was established in 2020 to bring together all three branches of state government, local governments, and community partners to transform Idaho’s behavioral health system. The improved statewide system will ensure an effective, efficient, recovery-oriented healthcare system for all adults, children, and their families who live with mental illness and addiction.

Gov. Brad Little’s Leading Idaho plan provides critical support for expanding and connecting Idaho’s behavioral health system. It recommends investing more than $60 million in initiatives advanced by the Behavioral Health Council, including support for new certified community behavioral health clinics, psychiatric residential treatment facilities, and youth crisis centers. The Leading Idaho plan also includes converting the suicide prevention line to the national behavioral  health crisis line, which will be reached by dialing 9-8-8 starting July 16.

Thanks to the Leading Idaho plan, Idaho is investing:

  • $15 million for at least three youth psychiatric residential treatment facilities (PRTF) located across the state. PRTF certification is required for Medicaid to pay for these services. Idaho currently only has one psychiatric residential treatment facility that only serves young females. This means at any given time about 100 Idaho youths are placed in out-of-state facilities. This funding will allow these vulnerable youths to be treated in Idaho, close to family.
  • $6 million each year for two years for certified community behavioral health clinics, to expand access to behavioral health services and services to people who are in crisis.
  • $4.4 million for the 9-8-8 crisis system, which will provide one number nationally and in Idaho starting July 16 for people to call if they feel they might harm themselves or are experiencing any behavioral health crisis.
  • $4.4 million for youth crisis centers. The adult crisis centers have been a huge success. This one-time funding will cover start-up costs for youth crisis centers.

For more information about the Idaho Behavioral Health Council, visit

I hope you have a safe and healthy weekend.

In recognition of May as Mental Health Awareness Month, this is the second post this month that focuses on how Idaho is working to improve the behavioral health system so Idahoans can get the care and services they need when they need them. You can read my first post at

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