In This Issue
Be Stigma Free this Year
Crisis Intervention Hotlines
Idaho Affiliates
Contact Us
Tips For How to Approach a Person with Mental Illness
Optum Idaho Shares it's Harvest
NAMI Idaho CIT Update
Saving Black Children from Suicide
11 Mental Health New Year's Resolutions
Fall Update from Close the Gap Idaho
States Continue to Cut Mental Health Funding
Idaho Federation for Families New Programs
NAMI Idaho Western Conference
Time to RAISE the Amount of Care
8 of Our Favorite Blogs from Buzzfeed's Mental Health Week
September Conference Recap

Stigma Free this Year
Individuals, companies, organizations and others can all take the pledge to learn more about mental illness, to see a person for who they are and take action on mental health issues. Take the pledge and raise awareness. 

1. Educate Yourself and Others

2.  See the Person and NOT the Illness

3. Take Action on Mental Health Issues

- See more at: https://www.nami.org/stigmafree#pledge
Crisis Intervention

Anxiety Disorder

Panic Disorder

Runaway Hotline

Suicide Hotline


The Iris is a symbol of hope. May 2016 be a year of hope for you.

-Editor, NAMI Idaho
Idaho Affiliates
Contact Information
NAMI Boise  
Jennifer Stairs, Office Manager  
4696 Overland Rd., Ste. 272    
Boise, ID 83705                  
Educational Programs: F2F, FSG, Basics, Connection, P2P, IOOV
NAMI Coeur d'Alene  
Bonnie Wilson, President   
P.O. Box 2068               
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83816 
Educational Programs: F2F, Connections, IOOV         
NAMI Far North (Sandpoint)
Amber Snoddy, President  
P.O. Box 2415 
Sandpoint, ID 83864  
Educational Programs: F2F, FSG,
Basics, Connection, IOOV
NAMI Latah  (Moscow)
Jane Pritchett, President
P.O. Box 8654 
Moscow, ID 8384 
Educational Programs:  F2F, FSG 
NAMI Southeast Idaho (Pocatello)
Zina Magee, President
P.O. Box 6066
Pocatello, ID 83205
Educational Programs: F2F, FSG, IOOV

NAMI Upper Valley Idaho (Idaho Falls)
Jane Roberts, President
P.O. Box 2452 
Idaho Falls, ID 83401
Educational Programs: F2F, FSG,
Basics, Connection

NAMI Wood River Valley (Hailey)
Tom Hanson, President
P.O. Box 95
Hailey, ID 83333  
Helpline 208-309-1987
Educational Programs: F2F, Basics, Connection, P2P, Ending the Silence, IOOV, Parents and Teachers as Allies

Contact NAMI Idaho:
Email us at:


Visit our webpage at:


Tips For How to Approach a Person with Mental Illness 

Because 1 in 5 Americans lives with a mental health condition, you likely encounter people with a mental illness in your family or in your daily life. However, if you are unsure of how best to approach someone who may be struggling, these tips may help.
Suggestions on how you may approach someone living with a mental health condition:
  • Talk to them in a space that is comfortable, where you won't likely be interrupted and where there are likely minimal distractions.
  • Ease into the conversation, gradually. It may be that the person is not in a place to talk, and that is OK. Greeting them and extending a gentle kindness can go a long way. Sometimes less is more.
  • Be sure to speak in a relaxed and calm manner.
  • Communicate in a straightforward manner and stick to one topic at a time.
  • Be respectful, compassionate and empathetic to their feelings by engaging in reflective listening, such as "I hear that you are having a bad day today. Yes, some days are certainly more challenging than others. I understand."
  • Instead of directing the conversation at them with 'you' statements, use 'I' statements instead.
  • Be a good listener, be responsive and make eye contact with a caring approach.
  • Ask them appropriate questions and avoid prying.
  • Give them the opportunity to talk and open up but don't press.
  • Share some easy insights as a way of encouraging easy conversation, such as comments about the weather, the community or other.
  • Reduce any defensiveness by sharing your feelings and looking for common ground.
  • Speak at a level appropriate to their age and development level. Keep in mind that mental illness has nothing to do with a person's intelligence.
  • Be aware of a person becoming upset or confused by your conversation with them.
  • Show respect and understanding for how they describe and interpret their symptoms.
  • Genuinely express your concern.
  • Offer your support and connect them to help if you feel that they need it. Ask, "How can I help?" if appropriate, or even, "Can I pray with you now?" if appropriate.
  • Give the person hope for recovery, offer encouragement and prayers.
Things to Avoid Saying:
  • "Just pray about it."
  • "You just need to change you're attitude."
  • "Stop harping on the negative, you should just start living."
  • "Everyone feels that way sometimes."
  • "You have the same illness as my (whoever)."
  • "Yes, we all feel a little crazy now and then."
Things to Avoid Doing:
  • Criticizing blaming or raising your voice at them.
  • Talking too much, too rapidly, too loudly. Silence and pauses are ok.
  • Showing any form of hostility towards them.
  • Assuming things about them or their situation.
  • Being sarcastic or making jokes about their condition.
  • Patronizing them or saying anything condescending. 
- See more at: https://www.nami.org/Get-Involved/NAMI-FaithNet/Tips-For-How-to-Approach-a-Person-with-Mental-Illn#sthash.Ms8VGB4c.dpuf

Optum Idaho Shares its Harvest with NAMI
When the staff at Optum Idaho's Meridian Office was made aware of possible NAMI funding shortfalls, they were compelled to act. A local Optum staff member and gardener put his garden harvest surplus to good use by establishing an intra-office farmers market. The farmers market caught on with the local staff and even outside community members. Over the summer and into the fall, the effort raised $540. 
On November 19, 2015, Optum Idaho was privileged to match the funds raised through those cooperative efforts. Optum regional staff traveled to Sandpoint and Coeur d' Alene, Idaho to present both NAMI chapters with checks for $540. During the visit, chapter representatives shared how they plan to use the funds to continue their work improving the lives of individuals coping with behavioral health issues in their communities. 

Caption: (left to right) NAMI board members Jan Burt, Amber Snoddy &Catherine Perusse received the check from Optum Regional Network Manager, Karen Kopf.

Amber Snoddy, President of NAMI Far North, shared their plans to use the funds to develop and implement a crisis line that the chapter is working to establish. For NAMI Coeur d' Alene, Bonnie Wilson was on hand to receive the funds and expressed that the chapter will use it to further their work in the community.

Caption: Bonnie Wilson (second from the left) of NAMI Coeur d'Alene received the check from Optum Field Care Coordinators Jeff Williams & Michelle Bishop and Optum Regional Network Manager Karen Kopf.
At Optum, we take pride in our commitment to engage in a meaningful way within the communities where we live and work. Throughout the year - but particularly during the holiday season - we are keenly aware of the needs of our neighbors. Together, with community partners like NAMI, we strive to make our communities better; one person, one family, one community at a time.
Every individual and every family has a unique road to wellness, health, and hope; just as every community has its own ways to support and assist the people who live there. Optum considers partnerships with advocacy groups like NAMI critical to helping Idahoans be happier and lead healthier lives. NAMI's advocacy, education, and research align with Optum's goal of helping Idahoans on their road to recovery. 

NAMI Idaho CIT Update
cit logo
The Idaho CIT Work Group met on October 22, 2015.  Representativesfrom DHW in all regions except regions 2 and 5 participated.  Also present was Christina Iverson, Idaho Supreme Court Statewide Alternatives Sentencing Manager.  She is also on the Idaho Criminal Justice Commission (ICJC) Mental Health Sub-Committee that is discussing all facets of the criminal justice system involving mental health, including the impact of CIT throughout our state.  They are using the Sequential Intercept Model, a framework for understanding how people with mental illness interact with the criminal justice system in their planning and recommendations.  She discussed with the group the recommendations on CIT that they are considering and will send the recommendations to the ICWG when they are completed.

Additions to the core curriculum made by various regions were discussed.  Region 1 held a 2 day mental health training in the Kootenai County and will hold a 40 hour academy in Feb 2016.  Region 3 will hold 4 CIT classes in 2016.  Children's Mental Health there is also holding mental health trainings in the schools.  The Boise PD has hired a full time mental health professional who recently attended the Canadian CIT meeting in Vancouver.  They will be holding a 24 hour mental health readiness for their patrol academy.  They are holding a one day course for civilians who work for the Boise PD.  They are holding a 20 hour training for all patrol officers with much training on gravely disabled.  They are using paramedics to medically clear individuals to save trips to the Emergency Room; this is very cost saving.  She is writing a white paper for the department on officer/mental health professional teams which are currently used in Vancouver, Portland, King County and San Antonio.  They are also working on an officer wellness program and decreasing the stigma of an officer seeking help for mental health problems.  They are discussing the effects of compounding trauma.  Region 6 is holding a 40 hour academy Feb 8-12.
 Region 7 will hold a 7 hour refresher course for CIT officers.  They hope to hold a 40 hour academy in Rexberg in the spring.  They are also doing 1 hour trainings on mental illness is the smaller communities in the region.

The ICWG will meet again on Jan 21, 2016.

Ann Ferguson Wimberley, M.D. (retired)
NAMI Idaho CIT Chairman 

Saving Black Children from Suicide


An increase in suicide among black children has alarmed mental health professionals - and thrown light on issues that may have been overlooked when treating trauma in the young. Journalist Krishana Davis talks to those on the front line. 

Matthew Morris cowered in the hallway of the crowded Brooklyn home he shared with his mother, sister, brother and grandmother and looked down at the knife in his hand.

He was contemplating whether this would be his last day, he says, recalling the night earlier this year when he attempted to take his own life.

"This is really it. I can't do this anymore," 17-year-old Matthew thought to himself.

"Part of me was saying, Matthew, you can't do this," he says. "But because of all I've been through I had created a new person in my head."

Matthew immigrated to the US with his family from Kingston, Jamaica. He was 12 years old. He had an idealistic view of America, in part from the shows he watched on the Disney Channel. The America he found was very different.
"I was bullied about my accent and how I dress, and about not wearing the latest fashion of clothes, or for being smart," Matthew says. "This is not what I signed up for."
As bullying at school and in his Brooklyn neighbourhood continued, Matthew says he would often "blackout" and physically attack the students who bullied him.

"I don't see the kids. I see my dad."
As a child, Matthew says his father, now in jail for a violent offence, was physically and emotionally abusive to the entire family. 

On the night Matthew attempted suicide, his mother found him with the knife in his hand. She tackled him and tried to take the knife away. Eventually his grandmother was able to wrestle the knife away from him.

Matthew was rushed to a children's psychiatric ward at a nearby hospital. 

Stories like Matthew's are becoming more common, as black children are particularly at risk. According to a study in JAMA Pediatrics, while the suicide rate among all children was relatively stable over 20 years, there was a significant increase among black children in one of the periods studied.

"Findings highlight a potential racial disparity that warrants attention," the paper's authors wrote. Many in the mental health field, especially those who work with children, says this is historically surprising and troubling.

The study has "rung an alarm", says Dr Robert Findling, director of paediatric psychiatry for Johns Hopkins Children's Center. Previous studies have shown adult minorities commit suicide less frequently than whites.

While an average of 33 children died of suicide each year between 1993 and 2012 - 84% who were boys and 16% who were girls - the study shows a significant increase in suicide among black children and a decrease among white children. 

"This demonstrates that children are not the same as adults," Findling says. "The rules for adults don't necessarily compare to children."

But which factors contribute to this rise have yet to be fully addressed, he says.
Emmanuel Cleaver, a Congressman from Missouri, has called on the Obama administration to form a task force dedicated to the problem. He hopes the Centers for Disease Control will address the issue in 2016. 

Anna Morgan-Mullane, vice president of mental health services at Children of Promise, believes the incarceration of the parent is one of the reasons behind the dramatic increase.

Children of Promise are helping Matthew and young New Yorkers break the cycle of involvement in the criminal justice system. 

Suicidal ideation, which includes thoughts of suicide or failed attempts, can start with children punching walls or cutting themselves to relieve whatever pain they are experiencing, Morgan-Mullane says. 

"Because of the cognitive development of adolescents and not being capable of realizing the finality of death, some children begin upping the ante," she says.

"Sometimes they don't realise that cutting themselves can have serious medical implications." Other mental health clinicians believe a number of factors can impact a child's decision to end their life.
One of the biggest obstacles facing adolescents with trauma is that "they don't have the language" to effectively communicate their struggles, says Dana Crawford, paediatric psychologist at the Behavioral Health Integration Program at Montefiore Health System.
Another issue specific to black children is internalised racism, she says. 
"As adults, when we ignore internalised racism and cross-cultural issues, young people are left to figure out what's going on by themselves," Crawford says.
Mental health issues in the black community have not been well documented over the years, said Dr Linda Darrell, associate professor at Morgan State University School of School Work. Suicide rates among black children may be higher, Darrell says, because they are experiencing trauma earlier.
And that trauma is not always direct.
Inner city black children may internalise a feeling of being devalued - based on dilapidating neighbourhoods filled with blight, funding priorities for schools and other factors negatively impacting their communities - Darrell says. "[Many urban black children] live in communities that may not be getting bombed, but could be considered war-torn communities," she says."You have families living in areas where three-fourths of the homes are boarded up."
Darrell says such issues have been overlooked when talking about children's mental health."We have to really begin to pay attention to the traumatic experiences children in urban cities have been experiencing," she says.

Matthew is one of those adolescents who is getting his trauma addressed. He regularly attends therapy and counselling at Children of Promise and recently joined their mentoring program to help dissuade other young children and teens from resorting to violence that hurts themselves or others.He is hoping to go to college to become an engineer.
"I want to help others," he says. "I really want to show others you can do it too."

Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30182225

Dec 28, 2015 BBCnews Magazine
Volume 4, Issue 3
                  December 2015 
President's Message

Dear Members and Friends of NAMI Idaho,
NAMI Idaho is preparing for its Advocacy Day on January 19 in Boise. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) continues to be an issue in the nation and Idaho. The Act is very complicated and implantation has revealed issues that must be addressed. It is my opinion we should encourage our Congressional delegation to address these issues and abandon efforts for complete revocation of the Act. One major decision Idaho has not resolved is the option to expand the coverage of Medicaid as allowed under the Act. The expansion option is for those persons or families that do not qualify for Medicaid or don't have an income sufficient to purchase coverage from the exchange.

Currently there are over 70,000 working Idahoans in this gap. It is time for the State to address this issue so that meaningful legislation to provide coverage can be ready for the next session as it is not likely to be ready for the 2016 session. 
On January 18th, NAMI Idaho will be hosting the West Region conference in Boise as described below in more detail. I invite you all to attend the conference and meet your NAMI Idaho Board, fellow NAMI advocates and those who have an interest in bettering the lives of those living with mental illness. 
There are eleven members on the current NAMI Idaho Board of Directors. Bylaws provides for 12 regional directors and up to four directors at-large. To complicate the problem, there are many directors that will reach their term limit in September 2016. This represents a significant drain of experience directors on the Board. We are seeking individuals across the entire state that are willing and able to be a board director. Please search your area, especially Boise and Coeur d' Alene, for qualified individuals to submit their name for election. Search your own heart as well. As a NAMI member you may nominate yourself. If you are not a member it is easy to join. Changes to the NAMI Idaho Bylaws have been proposed and will be voted on in the Spring meeting. One change will increase the number of terms from three to five. This will allow several directors to be reelected in the Fall and avoid the significant loss of talented and experienced Board members.
I wish you all a Happy New Year and hope that you will continue to support the work of NAMI Idaho in 2016.
Michael Sandvig, President
NAMI Idaho 
11 Mental Health New Year's Resolutions

By: Rheyanne Weaver HERWriter

New Year's resolutions tend to focus on weight, general health and finances, but they can also extend to mental health. Experts give their mental health New Year's resolutions suggestions for you to try this year and every year after.
Chip Coffey, the director of Outpatient Services at St. Luke's Behavioral Health Center, sent nine positive mental health resolutions for the new year through email:

1. "I will treat myself with respect and speak nicely about myself. Try taping a list of 10 positive characteristics about yourself in various places throughout the house and workplace to remind you of these things." 

2. "I resolve to be mentally healthy. In the United States, there is still a stigma about seeing a therapist. However, it is truly one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves. A therapist gives us an unbiased ear and can also help us to understand why we do the things we do ... think of seeing a therapist as a mental health oil change."

3. "I will be physically active on a daily basis." Multiple studies show a link between exercise and improved mental health.

4. "I will act and not react. Many times we feel like everyone is pushing our buttons. When this happens, we are caught up in reaction. It is not that people are actually pushing buttons; it is that we became overly sensitive. If you know you'll be around someone who says negative things, plan for this and have a list in your head of disarming statements."

5. "I will learn to relax and enjoy. Many times we become so busy we forget how or even when to take care of ourselves. Take a yoga or meditation class. Find some activity like photography or journaling [that] is relaxing and enjoyable to you. Dedicate time to this daily, if possible, or at a minimum, weekly."

6. "I will not define myself by a label. We often become our labels, e.g., I am depressed, I am fat, I am anxious. Drop your label; when you so it allows you to take control of the messages you have about yourself. For example, you could say, "I have depression, and today I will make sure to exercise to manage it.'"

7. "I will be mindful. Being mindful is about staying in the moment. 
I cannot change yesterday; I cannot predict tomorrow, however I do have control over the here and now. So, I will be aware in the moment, and enjoy that moment."

8. "I will work towards being the person I want to be. There is an old quote about life being a journey to be enjoyed not an obstacle to be overcome. When we see our lives as obstacles we do not enjoy life much. When we see life as a journey and a time to continue to be the person we desire to be, life is much more pleasant and enjoyable."

9. "I will not be hard on myself if I make resolutions and do not keep them. I may want to try them later in the year. I may realize that it will take more time than I thought to work on issues and I will look at this as a good things and not a bad thing. I do not fail by trying."

Soroya Bacchus, a psychiatrist in Calif., suggests that women look at setting healthy boundaries as a New Year's resolution.

"This can be something that women struggle with much more than men, whether it be with their sexual partners, officemates, or children," Bacchus said. "Boundaries are important as they protect us from being manipulated, controlled, or abused. This enables women to make choices about what they think, feel, or how they behave."

Tina B. Tessina, a psychotherapist and author of "Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage," said in an email that resolutions can center around removing toxic personal habits, like feeling lonely.

"Loneliness may not result from actually being alone, but more from feeling misunderstood or not valued," Tessina said. 

"People often isolate themselves because they feel inadequate in social situations. Value the friends you do have, and make new friends by attending classes or other group events where you can focus on a task or assignment. This will take the pressure off your contact with other people, and give you something in common with them."

She said to also avoid spending too much time on the computer socializing because that doesn't help loneliness as much.

"Make sure you schedule some time with a friend at least once a week, and if you don't have friends, then use that weekly time to take a class or join a group (for example, a book club or sports group ) which will give you a chance to make new friends," Tessina said.

Coffey, Chip. Email interview. Dec. 27, 2011
Bacchus, Soroya. Email interview. Dec. 27, 2011
Tessina, Tina. Email interview. Dec. 27, 2011

Reviewed December 29, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

From: http://www.empowher.com/mental-health/content/11-mental-health-new-years-resolutions
Fall Update from Close the Gap Idaho

Closing Idaho's health care coverage gap and passing the Healthy Idaho Plan in 2016, would save Idaho approximately $108,000 over the next 9-years and could generate over $400 million in new revenue for Idaho's economy. Moreover, we know that of the 41,000 Idahoans with a severe and persistent mental illness, Idaho's current Medicaid system offers care to less than a quarter of these Idahoans (approximately 9,000 people).  

We need your help to change this. While we had a major win this fall, when the Idaho Association of Counties endorsed the Healthy Idaho Plan during their September conference, we need to continue to elevate this issue as we approach the 2016 legislative session.  

Here are some ways you can help:

1)Attend one of our trainings in December. We are offering trainings in messaging, advocacy and community organizing throughout the month. Those not in Boise can access these trainings remotely. Find out more here.

2)Consider contacting your legislator or the governor to share your concerns about mental health and the coverage gap specifically.  If you're interested in a more general message, we've provided this on-line action tool to write the governor about the tragic story of Jenny Steinke, an Idaho Falls woman who died as a result of lack of access to the correct inhalers to treat her asthma.  Jenny's mother-in-law called her tragic death, "death by poverty." For information about how to contact your lawmakers and to access factsheets and talking points, please see our Advocacy Toolkit.

3) Attend the Health and Welfare Joint Listening Session during the 2016 Legislative Session.  We know that mental health advocates have a variety of issues to raise with our legislature, and we hope that support for the Healthy Idaho Plan will be at the top of your list.  Please contact Christine Tiddens at Catholic Charities of Idaho if you need to be added to our Close the Gap Network email list so that we can provide you with talking points specifically designed for this once-a-year listening session.

4) Share our new factsheet about law enforcement and the coverage gap with your networks and any contacts you have in law enforcement. Close the Gap Idaho has made a concerted effort to reach out to Idaho law enforcement officials about the Healthy Idaho Plan over the last few months. We have met with local chiefs of police and will be presenting to the Idaho Sheriff's Association in December. Mental health is a central focus of this factsheet, as law enforcement officials are often called to the scene of mental health crises that could have been prevented with adequate access to mental health care.

Thank you for your support and we hope to see you at a Close the Gap Idaho event soon! 
States Continue to Cut Mental Health Funding, but You Can Take a Stand

By Jessica Hart | Dec. 08, 2015 

Every single day people are battling towards recovery from mental health conditions for themselves or their loved ones. Every. Single. Day. Fortunately, NAMI is here to help. We reach out and lend a hand in communities around the country through support groups, education and presentation programs.

This is where you can talk with friends and your NAMI family about what is going on in your life and find understanding and support. Sometimes, this conversation can shift to the challenges that you face when trying to find services and supports for yourself or a loved one.

Are you having trouble getting safe, affordable housing? Is your daughter showing early signs of psychosis, but you can't find services? Is your son in jail, not getting any treatment and has been put in solitary confinement? Are you struggling to find an inpatient bed for your significant other? Do you even have access to mental health professionals or is your closest psychiatrist six hours away?

Here is where NAMI advocates pick up the ball. Advocates see the broken system and challenges that are preventing people from getting the help they need and ask, "How can I make it better? What can we as a community, state or country do to fix what I see going wrong?" Then they work hard to change it.
You have the power to be a NAMI advocate.

All you need is your voice and the fire inside to make the system better for yourself, your loved ones and your NAMI family. For you, our newest NAMI advocate, we have a new report on state legislation that you can use to make the mental health system in your state better.

Look at the map above. See whether your state is investing more money-or less-into your mental health system. If you don't like what you see, look up your state elected officials and call, email and tweet them. Ask them to increase the mental health budget when the state legislature comes back into session. Tell them you are a voting constituent. Explain what it would mean to you or your family member for them to make the commitment to invest in the mental health budget.
Did some of the situations above where people couldn't get the care they need sound familiar? The good news is that some states saw those challenges and took up the banner to advocate for better services and supports and succeeded. You can succeed, too, by taking what these states have already done and giving it to your local elected official to introduce as a bill in your state.

Five bills stood out to NAMI, and you have a role to make them a reality across the country.


How many people do you know in your community with mental illness who cannot find safe, affordable housing? Housing is a cornerstone of recovery for people with mental illness, yet, on average, the rent for a studio apartment rent exceeds 90% of disability income. Arizona created a housing trust fund for rental assistance to people with serious mental illness through HB 2488. If housing is something you are passionate about, take this piece of legislation to your local elected official.

First Episode Psychosis Programs

Are you interested in making sure that people with early psychosis get the services they need? You can help by getting your state to join the investment in evidence-based practices. Leading research shows that early intervention through First Episode Psychosis (FEP) programs enables young people to manage psychosis and get on with their lives. Minnesota enhanced federal dollars through the passage of SF 1458 which supports evidence-based FEP programs.

Criminal Justice and Mental Health

Do you think it is horrible that 2 million people with mental illness are currently in jail instead of getting services they need in the community or hospital? You can help rectify this injustice in your state by looking to states like Utah. Utah passed a bill (HB 348) that requires the state departments of corrections and mental health to collaborate on providing mental health treatment to inmates, developing alternatives to incarceration and implementing graduated sanctions and incentives.

Psychiatric Inpatient Beds

Do you think that your state doesn't have a good enough system or a system at all for tracking psychiatric inpatient beds? You should look to Virginia. Finding a psychiatric bed in a crisis is challenging. As a result, people with mental illness are often boarded in emergency departments for exceptionally long periods. Lack of information on the availability of psychiatric beds throughout a state is often part of the problem. Virginia HB 2118 requires all public and private facilities to report psychiatric inpatient and crisis stabilization beds at least once daily.


Is your policy issue the shortage of mental health professionals? Washington State is trying to fix this common problem. Nationwide, there is an acute shortage of mental health professionals. Telehealth can make mental health expertise more available to underserved communities using readily available technology. However, challenges in reimbursement have resulted in underuse of this valuable resource. Washington's bill (SB 5175) defines telemedicine as a reimbursable service for the purposes of diagnosis, consultation or treatment.
Use the report as a tool to help drive policies and investments that will improve your state mental health system. Look for the gold stars in the policy issues that you care about. Call, email and tweet your elected official to get them on board.

Together as NAMI advocates we can build a movement to help transform the mental health system in America.

From NAMI blog
Federation Announces New Programs - 
Parents and Respite Care Providers Wanted

As the New Year begins, the Idaho Federation of Families is searching for parents with "Lived Experience" interested in training leading to them becoming Parent Support Partners (PSP).  In addition to PSP candidates, the Federation is also seeking individuals interested in becoming respite care providers.   

Once the PSP program is rolled out in January, parents will have the opportunity to attend a 40 hour training that will allow them to become state certified as a PSP and potentially obtain employment with providers.  A PSP is the parent of a child with emotional, behavioral and other mental health challenges.  A PSP brings their personal lived experiences and knowledge of raising a child with these challenges and uses it as a member of a treatment team to empower and provide needed hope for families.  

Like family members of the Federation, a PSP understands and believes that parents are their child's best advocate and should be empowered to use their voice, knowledge and skills to make informed choices and take action. An empowered parent has confidence and believes in their own ability to meet the complex needs of their child and family.

If you are a parent with lived experience wishing to learn more about this opportunity, or know parents who might be interested, please contact the IFFCMH office at 208-433-8845 for additional information or contact Rebekah Casey at strengtheningvillages@gmail.com .  The first training session is currently scheduled to take place in Coeur d'Alene beginning January 23.  Specifics on the exact location, expenses, scholarships and 40 hour time frame will be available.  

Once a parent has successfully completed the training and received certification, he or she will receive continued training/support from the Federation and be eligible for employment within the Optum ID provider network as well as with independent providers.  Certification means providers may bill Medicaid for their services.

The Federation is also seeking individuals over the age of 18 interested in becoming Respite Care Providers.  Respite care is one of the most frequently requested services by families providing 24/7 care for their disabled loved ones.  Currently, despite the availability of funding to help cover the cost of respite care, people willing and able to provide respite care are few and families are unable to locate providers.  The Federation works with the Behavioral Health Department and regional staff to offer clients respite care funding and with the Council on Aging to offer Emergency Caregiver Respite (ECR) funds to anyone providing 24/7 care to anyone of any age.      

Respite care is defined as:
  • An intermittent period of relief for the primary caregiver in order that s/he may take a break from the continual responsibilities of care giving.
  • A short-term period of relief when there is trauma or increased family stress due to an unforeseen family emergency or crisis.
  • A personal break for the parent or primary caregiver of children with serious mental or emotional disturbances.

The Federation offers a brief training webinar and pays for background checks for people interested in becoming providers and listed in the Federation statewide Directory.  Although the Federation does not endorse one provider in the directory over another, contact information of a listed provider is supplied when requested by families in need of respite assistance.

ECR is intended to financially assist families impacted by an emergency that causes a 24/7 caregiver to be unable to provide care for a limited period of time and no other respite care funding is available to them. More about ECR, the guidelines, criteria and application form can be found on the IFFCMH website at idahofederation.org and click on respite care.  If you or someone you know is interested in becoming respite care provider and listed in our directory, please contact the IFFCMH office at 208-443-8845.  We at the Federation are looking forward to the year ahead with high hopes that our programs will be helpful to the families we hope to serve.      
NAMI Idaho Western Conference
Mark Your Calendars!!

On Monday, January 18th, NAMI Idaho will be having it's Western Conference in Boise Idaho. The theme for this conference is "Advancing Toward Early Intervention and Recovery in Idaho." 

Join us at Red Lion Hotel Boise Downtowner
1800 West Fairview Avenue 


12:00 pm Registration and Check-in

12:30 pm Welcome

12:35 pm Behavioral Health Priorities in an Integrated Health Setting - Kathie Garrett, vice president NAMI Idaho

12:45 pm Idaho's State Healthcare Innovation Plan - Integrated Healthcare - Gina Wescott, Idaho Department of Health & Welfare

1:30 pm Optum's Medicaid Mental Health Managed Care

2:00 pm Respite Care & Parent Partners Program - Stephen Graci, Executive Director of Idaho Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health

2:30 pm Break

2:45 pm Evidence-based Early Interventions - Ray Millard Chief Operating Officer of Lifeways

3:30 pm - Idaho Children's Mental Health Reform Projects: Response to Jeff D Settlement Agreement - Pat Martel, Project Manager Children's Mental Health Program

4:15 pm Healthy Idaho Plan - Closing the Gap - Corey Surber Saint Alphonsus Health Systems

5:00 pm Adjourn

6:00 pm Choices in Recovery Dinner - Sponsored by Jansen Pharmaceutical Companies

There is no fee for registration, but you must register by 12:00 NOON on Monday January 11, 2016 to ensure food and handout materials for all participants. Recovery Dinner is limited to the first 150 people who register.

To register, call Carla Young at (208) 440-2384 or email namiwrv@gmail.com

Hope to see you there!!
Time to RAISE the Amount of Care
By Ken Duckworth | Oct. 30, 2015 
Maggie and her mother Maureen at the RAISE Congressional briefing alongside Darcy Gruttadaro,  the Director of NAMI's Child and Adolecsent action center.

On Oct. 20, Maggie, a 20-year-old nursing student, bravely stepped up to the podium in the Rayburn House Office Building at a Congressional briefing organized by the National Institute of Mental Health and NAMI. Maggie shared her personal experience living with schizophrenia and persistent auditory hallucinations to the Congressional staffers, colleague organizations and media.
She was there in part to announce the release of the most highly anticipated research on mental health in years. The research consisted of two studies as part of NIMH's RAISE research program. RAISE, which stands for Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode, is a groundbreaking initiative looking at how best to treat people with early psychosis.

One study, the RAISE Early Treatment Program (RAISE-ETP), was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry and led by Dr. John Kane and begins to provide an answer to the fundamental question: can we do better for people early in the course of living with psychosis in real world settings? The answer appears to be a clear, yes. To quote Maggie, who participated in a related trial, it made her "want to not just live...but also, want to live a fulfilling life."
RAISE-ETP compared coordinated specialty care to regular community-based treatment. The goal was to determine whether this new treatment approach made a difference for the individuals with early psychosis. The study observed 223 individuals provided Coordinated Specialty Care and 181 individuals in regular community care. The Coordinated Specialty Care sites trained existing community mental health workers in these evidence-based treatments.

The study looked at quality of life, symptom improvement and involvement with work and school during the first two years after the study began. The findings were that people receiving coordinated specialty care had much better results than typical community-based care.

During the briefing, Dr. Lisa Dixon, who led the RAISE Implementation and Evaluation Study (RAISE-IES)  explained that her study had similarly positive results, with participant hospitalizations down more than 50% and participants in school or working up nearly 40%. Dr. Dixon discussed coordinated specialty care's success in engaging participants and improving their overall quality of life.

Findings from Dr. Kane's RAISE-ETP study revealed the impact of the coordinated specialty care intervention was much stronger if the person had psychosis symptoms for less than 74 weeks. This shows how critical it is to make access to services easier and to improve awareness and attitudes towards people seeking help if they have symptoms of psychosis. This is consistent with previous findings that show that it matters how soon a person gets help-there is a window of time to get the best services to people with early schizophrenia.

I volunteer at the prevention Recovery of Early Psychosis Program (PREP) at Massachusetts Mental Health Center and I see what good can come from dedicated staff devoted to young people living well with psychosis. The program is welcoming and has many of the things that are in the RAISE study-early involvement of families, and support for work and school. PREP always has a wait list even though it does not advertise. As much of a privilege it is for me to be there, I know PREP and programs like it need to be proven to be a better model to encourage more funding and replication. The RAISE initiative seems to have provided answers to these questions.

RAISE showed that the coordinated specialty care services made a real difference in the following two years after the first signs of psychosis. Maggie's mother, Maureen, said the program gave her daughter the ability to move forward with her life and the knowledge and skills she needed to help her along the way.
As NAMI Executive Director, Mary Giliberti, said at the RAISE briefing, "This isn't just about the numbers. This is about real lives."

Now what we need to find out is if these services improved outcomes over a longer time. For example, if it helped to keep people at a higher level of functioning in school or work over a decade. It would also be important to understand if th
ese services can help to save money over time, by reducing hospitalizations and disability. Finding ways to provide funding for these more comprehensive services will also be crucial.
We salute NIMH for conducting this research, and I look forward to following this line of research and sharing it with the NAMI community. We look forward to the continued great collaboration efforts as the field tries to understand what works and in what stage of illness. NAMI members work every day to improve attitudes and this study gives us power to push for more services like this.

I think the young woman summed up what the heart of this research showed us: "You can live your life with [schizophrenia]...it's not hopeless." 

From NAMI Blog
8 of Our Favorite Blogs from Buzzfeed's Mental Health Week

By Laura Greenstein | Dec. 15, 2015 

Not to discount articles about cute kittens, film quotes for when you need an Instagram caption and what you favorite child actors look like now, but Buzzfeed also posts some content on some other important topics, too. For example, this past week they hosted their own Mental Health Week and posted nearly 150 blogs that covered all sorts of angles and topics related to mental health. One of the largest media organizations in the world, Buzzfeed, is also among one of the first companies to become stigma free.

To stay in line with Buzzfeed's style, here are some of our favorites from the week:

This video combines several personal perspectives describing what it feels like to live with a mental health condition. Each personal story is accompanied by illustrations that depict what each person's description would actually look like. One person from the video says, "Depression to me feels like a giant weight kind of like one of those big dumb bells. It starts right in your gut, and you just feel it slowly intensifying... It gets heavier and heavier, and a little bit harder to carry." The analogies made within the video describe mental health conditions in a way that makes it easier to understand and relate to. 

For all of the bookworms who are looking for interesting things to read, this blog contains a long list of books that enlighten many different aspects of mental health. Each book on the list clearly states which mental health condition it will help you to understand better, which is beneficial for those who want to learn more about a specific disorder.

These are general tips that are useful for any person who has a mental health condition or not. Some of the most helpful tips are: use your senses to help you stay in the present, remember that no one is judging you as much as you are and strive for happiness not perfection. Everybody has mental health, and it is incredibly important to keep some of these things in mind.

What helps you cope with your mental health condition? For many people, having a creative outlet is critical to their recovery, and to their well-being. This blog is really helpful for someone seeking ideas of how they can express themselves creatively. There are so many different creative activities you can do, and this blog offers 24 suggestions that can get you started such as, crocheting a blanket, designing your dream home and making your own candles!

For people who live with depression, normal activities such as showering or attending a meeting can be immensely challenging when symptoms flare. This interactive blog puts you into the mindset of someone who faces these everyday struggles. You read each scenario discovering why a certain activity is hard and every decision leads to another hard decision. This article represents what it     truly feels like to be clouded by depression. 

"I spent time apologizing for my privilege out loud. She [her therapist] tossed me the notion that privilege was not some sort of mental health armor. That, privilege or not, my fears and despair were valid. The funny thing is, she didn't tell me anything I didn't know. Just lots and lots of things I had forgotten." This personal story is both candid and humorous as the writer relates her experiences to things like Dementors and Wile E. Coyote.

In today's society, there is an app for almost everything. This list highlights a few apps that can be beneficial for your mental health. For example, the app, Music Escape, "is designed to create a mood map of your track library, it helps you create playlists to match or change your mood." Sometimes the little things, such as finding the right music for your mood, can have a positive impact on how you feel.

You are not alone. This is something that can be hard to remember when you feel like no one can relate to what you're going through. But at times, we all feel alone and maybe even isolated from other people. This blog gives some ideas of how to make us feel better when loneliness creeps into our lives. These ideas run the spectrum from simple things like visiting an animal shelter to play with puppies to checking into a treatment center. It is important to be aware of when you need help, and to know what your options are.  

There are many other blogs that were created for Buzzfeed's Mental Health Week that are worth checking out. We look forward to what this new partnership will bring as Buzzfeed takes on the goal of becoming stigma free!

From NAMI Blog

September Conference Recap
   NAMI North 1 Sept 2015
L-R: Michael Sandvig, Sharlisa Davis, Kathie Garrett, Tom Hanson, John Tanner, Linda Haraldson, Carla Young, Catherine Perusse

Elections for NAMI Idaho Board of Director members was held. The following people are now on the Board of Directors:

Mike Sandvig, President, Upper Valley
Kathie Garrett, Vice-President, Boise
Catherine Perusse, LPCC, NCC, Secretary, Far North
Sharlisa Davis, Treasurer, Latah
Tewa Evans, Wood River Valley
Tom Hanson, Wood River Valley
Linda Haraldson, Far North
Rick Huber, Southeast
Zina Magee, President Emeritus, Southeast
Shannon Rood, Upper Valley
John Tanner, PhD, Upper Valley
Ann Wimberley, MD, Far North
Carla Young, Wood River Valley

Tammy Rice Recovery Idaho Sharlissa Davis
Tammy Rice - Recovery Idaho, Sharlisa Davis - NAMI Idaho

A BIG THANK YOU to Ruth Spencer who manned the sign-in table all day with a warm welcome and a smile for everyone!!

What's New on the NAMI Bookshelf?
By Laura Greenstein | Dec. 11, 2015 

Winter is one of the best times to read because you can snuggle up by the fire, drink hot cocoa and delve into a different world. If you are looking for some new books to add to your reading list, here are a few recommendations:

I'd Walk With My Friends If I Could Find Them
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2015)

This novel exemplifies the extreme choices that soldiers are forced to make during wartime. These decisions, which are often made within seconds, are the ones that veterans have to live with for years. I'd Walk with My Friends If I Could Find Them is a poignant and honest tale of three soldiers coping with their time in Afghanistan. Each of their stories is fully chronicled from their childhoods to well after their deployment. Throughout the book, author Jesse Goolsby addresses the many pertinent questions that challenge the lives of veterans, including, "What is the price of forgiveness?" As you read this novel, the deep effects of trauma that so many veterans live with with every day will haunt you.
SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient-Powered by the Science of Games
Penguin Press (2015)

What if there was a game that could help you through your recoveryprocess? SuperBetter is a book designed to help you to become stronger, happier and healthier by simply completing playful exercises and challenges. Game designer Jane McGonigal explains how thinking within a gaming mindset improves our ability to recover by increasing our resilience to stress, challenge and pain. There are three main psychological strengths that we use when playing games: controlling your attention, thoughts and feelings, strengthening your relationships, and motivating yourself. This book is meant to bring out the strengths we use while playing games and to take advantage of them to help us achieve our real-world goals.
Coping with BPD: DBT and CBT Skills to Soothe the Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder
New Harbinger Publications (2015)

Coping with BPD serves as a practical guide for
those who deal with intense emotions, mood swings, self-loathing, and the many other symptoms that accompany borderline personality disorder. The methods of reducing these symptoms are drawn from the skills learned in both dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). Some of these skills include mindfulness, recognizing and controlling your emotions, setting realistic goals, learning how to solve problems and challenging negative thoughts. This book is designed to help those living with BPD manage their symptoms and live better lives.
Shades of Blue: Writers on Depression, Suicide and Feeling Blue
Seal Press (2015)

If you are living with depression or suicidal thoughts, you are not alone. Shades of Blue is a compilation of 35 personal stories from people who have experienced depression or who have lost loved ones to suicide. Thebook surfaces feelings of empathy and  compassion as these compelling writers bravely share their most personal accounts. Weaving through themes of hopelessness, desperation, loss and acceptance, this book is both heart-wrenching and relatable for those who have experienced a similar struggle.
All the Things We Never Knew: Chasing the Chaos of Mental Illness
Seal Press (2015)

Reporter Sheila Hamilton highlights the tragedy that comes from missing or ignoring the signs of a mental health condition in her book, All the Things We Never Knew, Shelia shares her personal narrative of losing her husband to suicide shortly after he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Not only did she have to recover from the grief of her loss, she was also left alone to care for their young daughter and manage the mountain of debt her husband left behind. The story takes you through their whole relationship starting at the beginning until a year after his death. It paints a picture of the unraveling of their family as his symptoms worsened and the grief Sheila faced after losing him. This is a story that any person who has lost a loved one to suicide can relate to.

From NAMI Blog
Join NAMI Idaho

ecome a member of NAMI, NAMI Idaho and your local affiliate 







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