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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 2020, about 40.3 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 2020, it was estimated about 2.7 percent of American adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 had a Major Depressive Episode and substance use disorder in the previous year. That same year, an estimated 6.7 percent of all adults in the U.S. had a 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. Applying a formula from the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention to Idaho’s current population, it is estimated approximately 3,600 Idahoans may experience a behavioral health crisis each month.(6) Suicide rates in Idaho are 50 percent higher than the national average. The Division of Behavioral Health is committed to ensuring that individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis and their families experience treatment and support that is compassionate, resolution-focused, and effective. The goal is to deliver crisis services that are individualized and person-centered, that utilize solution-focused interventions, and support individuals with problem solving and developing strategies to prevent future crises.  The division has begun work to implement a comprehensive crisis system of care that is responsive to all populations statewide but at present, crisis services remain somewhat limited.  Crisis services that are currently available through the division today include regional crisis lines, mobile response teams during some hours but not 24/7, regional crisis collaboratives with law enforcement and other first responders, and crisis centers in all regions.


The crisis system that is envisioned by the division includes a statewide centralized crisis line, 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 will have to address challenges such as provider shortages, resources for rural and frontier parts of the state, stigma around accessing behavioral health services, and even technological barriers such as limited internet access in parts of the state. 

Youth Empowerment Services (YES): Idaho has implemented a system of care for children's mental health called Youth Empowerment Services (YES) to support children and families in a timely way.  The goals of YES include: increasing understanding of mental health needs in children, providing access to quality mental health care and monitoring the effectiveness of treatment.  A cornerstone for accomplishing these goals is the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) functional assessment.  Identifying needs and strengths of the child or youth, the CANS empowers providers to build effective treatment plans based on the active needs of the client.  During SFY 2021, more than 8,000 initial CANS were completed.  This growing pool of data allows our system to build individual needs within system trends which are used to recognize effective services for future implementation.  Continuing to establish this system of care will be essential in improving the overall health of children and their families as they navigate these complex times.


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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