Keep the ball rolling for children’s mental health
Last June, Gov. Butch Otter signed an agreement designed to finally put in place a set of comprehensive mental health services for the children of Idaho. The plan to create these services is known as the Children’s Mental Health Reform. As we did last year, we commend Gov. Otter for taking this visionary step. Now Idaho needs to keep the ball rolling. We call on Gov. Otter and the Legislature to fund the reform this year and put enough resources in the budget to make sure that the plan becomes a reality.
Today, Idaho ranks 42nd out of the 50 states in access to mental health services. Fully 70 percent of our children with a major depressive episode never receive a mental health visit. One of every five Idaho children has seriously considered suicide in the past 12 months. Between 2010 and 2014, 96 Idaho schoolchildren (ages 18 and younger) died by suicide, making it our state’s second leading cause of death. The children of Idaho need help.