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In Crisis: Understanding Idaho's Fragmented Mental Health System

In Crisis: Understanding Idaho's Fragmented Mental Health System

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness nearly a quarter of Idahoans are living with a mental illness. Nearly 6 percent of those people are living with a serious mental illness like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. In addition, Idaho has one of the highest suicide rates in the country. On average, Idaho's suicide rate is 48 percent higher than the national rate.

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Credit Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman
Shawna Ervin gets her blood drawn regularly to make sure her medication to treat schizoaffective disorder isn't damaging her body.
So, what's the state doing to turn around those statistics?

Boise State Public Radio and the Idaho Statesman have teamed up to better understand Idaho's fragmented mental health system. In a series we're calling "In Crisis," we'll explore why so many Idahoans aren't getting mental health care until they're in the middle of an emergency.

We'll show you how social workers have partnered with law enforcement to provide crisis care to people dealing with emergencies. We'll show you how hospitals and the court system have stepped in to fill the gap in mental health care. And we'll explain why people getting mental health care through Medicaid have watched their services change over the last year.

We'll introduce you to people who have gone through mental crisis, drug abuse, jail, hospitalization and personal struggles. Some of them are just starting their journeys to recovery, some are now helping other Idahoans navigate mental illness.

You'll find each piece of this multimedia reporting collaboration here.