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Behavioral Health

Drug Overdose Deaths

Drug Overdose Deaths per 100,000 

Suicide Deaths

Average Years of Potential Life Lost per Suicide Death

Behavioral health is a term that encompasses both mental illnesses and addiction/substance use disorders. Both mental health and substance use issues can significantly affect a person’s thinking, feelings and mood – impacting their ability to relate to others and function each day. Untreated, behavioral health conditions can also contribute to physical health problems, financial and job stability difficulties, encounters with law enforcement, emergency hospitalization and even death. (1, 2, 3, 4)

Some of the most commonly known mental health diagnoses include anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and depression. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a mental health condition most commonly diagnosed in young people. Among Americans 12 and over in 2021, about 43.7 million had a substance use disorder in the previous year. (5)

When a person struggles with both a mental illness and substance use disorder, it is called a co-occurring disorder. In 2021, adolescents ages 12 to 17 with a major depressive episode in the past year were more likely to have used illicit drugs (27.7 percent compared to 10.7 percent who did not have a major depressive episode in the past year). That same year, an estimated 17.9 million adults in the U.S. had a co-occuring mental illness and substance use disorder affect them in the past year. (5)

These illnesses are common, recurrent, and often serious, but they are treatable and many people do recover.

Idaho Division of Behavioral Health initiatives:

Opioid epidemic: In efforts to combat the nationwide opioid epidemic in the Gem State, between May 2017 and April 2021 the Idaho Response to the Opioid Crisis (IROC) program provided funding for 1,474 Idahoans to access opioid use disorder treatment. Beginning in September 2020, this funding was expanded to include the treatment of stimulant use disorder. Initiatives include law enforcement assisted diversion programs that allow people to receive treatment rather than be arrested; distribution of 7,036 doses of the overdose reversal drug Naloxone; a reentry program for women releasing from the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center; partnership with the Idaho Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs to provide prevention education to Idaho’s youth; and increased access to recovery support services statewide.

Crisis: The demand for behavioral health crisis services has never been higher.  Idaho had the fifth highest suicide rate in the nation in 2020 according to the CDC.  In State Fiscal Year 2022, the Division of Behavioral Health led the state's implementation of the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, 988. The Division of Behavioral Health in partnership with the Division of Public Health and the Idaho Crisis and Suicide Hotline, focused on connecting Idahoans in a behavioral health crisis with trained crisis workers and resources. The launch of 988 on July 16, 2022, provided individuals, families and communities and easy-to remember three-digit behavioral health crisis and suicide prevention number.  In the first five months, 988 received over 10,000 calls, texts and chats.


The crisis system that is envisioned includes not only 988 but also mobile crisis response that is available 24/7, access in all regions to local community based services trained to address crisis, specialized crisis services for children and youth, more options in other parts of the state for crisis stabilization centers, crisis care that integrates peers and Recovery Coaches and medication assisted treatment.  To achieve that goal, the division of behavioral health and partners will have to address challenges such as provider shortages, resources for rural and remote parts of the state, stigma around accessing behavioral health services, and even technological barriers such as limited internet access in parts of the state. 

If someone is experiencing a behavioral health issue, they can contact one of our regional offices, or dial 911 if it is an emergency. BPA Health can also complete a screening for eligibility options for Substance Use Disorders treatment at 1-800-922-3406.

Find COVID-19 Behavioral Health information here.


  1.  Princeton Public Health Review,   

  2.  National Alliance on Mental Illness,

  3.  Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion,

  4.  CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,

  5. Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, pg. 2-3,

  6. National Action Alliance on Suicide Prevention: How Does your Crisis System Flow?,

  7. Kaiser Family Foundation, Adults Reporting Mental Illness in the Past Year, 2018-2019,

  8. Behavioral Health Barometer Idaho, Volume 6, page 23-24,

  9. Kaiser Family Foundation, Age-Adjusted Suicide Rate, 2019,

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