Idaho's Senate bill passes for the creation of Behavioral Health Crisis Center

LEWISTON, ID - People experiencing behavioral health issues often miss out on appropriate care.

On Thursday, Idaho Governor 'Butch' Otter announced he's taking steps to fix that. Governor Otter delivered the news that a new Behavioral Health Crisis Center will be built in Idaho Falls.

This comes after the passing of Senate Bill 1224, which called for the redesign of Idaho's behavioral health system of care. Incarceration and hospitalization are often the only alternatives for people experiencing behavioral health issues. The creation of health crisis centers will take pressure off of law enforcement and ER departments and provide more effective treatments.

Representative Thyra Stevenson was part of the committee that gathered funding and legislative support for an initial trial location.

"The Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee, of which I'm a member, appropriated approximately $1.5 million for a trial run, so to speak," said Stevenson. "And then the Health and Welfare Department was tasked with using a ranking system to determine where would be the best opportunity to begin a tentative trial of the Behavioral Health Crisis Center."

Stevenson said since Lewiston is a relatively small region for behavioral health services, they weren't selected as a site for a crisis center. However, they want to be prepared and have a plan in place in case they're chosen in the future.