Mental Health

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A new study underscores disproportionately high firearm suicide rates in rural areas, including across Idaho.

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The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll, not just on people’s physical health, but also their mental health.

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll, not just on people’s physical health, but also their mental health.

For some people, long-term planning or routine tasks that were easier last year are now roadblocks that are hard to get around. Others are suddenly overly focused on cleaning or washing their hands.

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As the coronavirus forced people inside this spring and asked them to isolate themselves at home, in some case from loved ones and friends, experts across the country raised concerns about the possible mental health crisis to come. In Idaho, pre-existing rates of suicide put folks here on high alert for an increase in anxiety, depression and other disorders.

Children have fewer serious physical symptoms from COVID-19 than adults. But experts say the virus could be taking a toll on their mental health. Tess Goodwin has more on how parents may be able to help combat kids’ anxiety.

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Even though COVID-19 seems to be not affecting children’s bodies as much as it is adults, the disease is not being so kind to children’s minds. No one is immune to the stress that comes with a pandemic and related quarantining. However, many mental health experts believe children may be at a particular risk.

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Well, we've made it to Friday and it's time for the weekly Reporter Roundtable. This week, our panel discusses the latest with Idaho's coronavirus casesmental health and COVID-19local reaction to President Trump's suggestion that the November election could be delayed, folks showing up at Black Lives Matters protests with firearms, and how Idahoans are dealing with the expiration of a federal moratorium on evictions. 

NAMI Wood River Valley

How are our law enforcement — nationally and locally — handling high-risk calls with individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis? And what if that person was Hispanic/Latinx?

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Dr. Bret Frey is an emergency room physician in Reno, Nevada, and he likens working in health care right now to fighting in a war. 

"I always thought that there was a good chance that World War III would happen in some form in my lifetime, I just didn't appreciate it was going to come in the form of a virus," Frey says.

Original art by Deirdre Barrett


Your eyes close, and you’re asleep. Suddenly you’re out in public without a mask on. Or, you’re wearing a mask, but no one around you is and they’re getting way too close to you. 


These are a couple of common dreams that Harvard Medical School Psychology professor Deirdre Barrett says many people experienced in the first phase of coronavirus anxiety.  

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A few weeks ago, Lesley Dickson, a psychiatrist in Las Vegas, says she started feeling concerned for the hospital workers treating COVID-19 patients. 

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When the coronavirus first began spreading in Idaho, the health care system was primarily focused on the physical health of folks. While those concerns continue, some are also raising alarm bells about the mental health challenges that come with a pandemic. 

via America Amplified

On Saturday, May 9 Idaho Matters and the Mountain West News Bureau helped produce a national call-in show in collaboration with America Amplified as part of the series "Life, Community and COVID-19." Listen to the full show here: 

Mental health care is vital during this pandemic and some under the most strain are on the front lines of COVID-19.

As James Dawson reports, many health care workers are now getting expanded access to counselors through the summer.



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Ada County Medical Society via Youtube


The Ada County Medical Society runs the Physician Vitality Program, a way for doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners in Ada County to get access to mental health care. Now, in response to COVID-19, they are expanding their services to less-resourced parts of Idaho. 

Boise Parks & Recreation / via Facebook


While stress is a part of life, long term stress can cause negative health outcomes, such as digestive and sleep disorders, headaches, and anxiety, depression and other mental illness. 


And with widespread isolation, as well as fear and uncertainty, the coronavirus pandemic is causing long-term stress in many individuals. 

Depressed Cake Shop


Eating cake usually signifies a celebration: a celebration of a birthday, a wedding, a graduation, a retirement. But there’s an upcoming event in Boise that will turn this paradigm on its head: the Depressed Cake Shop.

reporter roundtable

Another Friday...another Reporter Roundtable here on Idaho Matters! Listen to the discussion of the week's headlines from Madelyn Beck with the Mountain West News Bureau, KIVI 6 On Your Side's Mike Sharp and Erin Bamer of the Idaho Press. 

mental health, in crisis
Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

During the "season of cheer," many people suffer from seasonal depression. Feelings of being overwhelmed or sad can be reduced by something many of experience during the holidays: gratitude. Brain science supports the benefits of this emotion. Idaho Matters learns about this from a Boise doctor with Optum Health.

A report out this week found that people seeking mental health treatment go out-of-network more than they do for primary care. Essentially, that means that for consumers, it’s often more expensive to treat mind than body, and the disparity seems to have gotten worse in recent years. 

Madelyn Beck / The Moutain West News Bureau

Last year, on a warm Saturday evening in Boise, Idaho, Timmy Earl Kinner Jr. walked into the birthday party of a family. In a random attack, he stabbed nine people, including the birthday girl Ruya Kadir. That little girl died at just three years old.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

Eating disorders are the second deadliest of the mental health disorders according to the National Eating Disorders Association. Recently, the Treasure Valley has seen a rise in these eating disorders among students in elementary school, with schools and parents trying to identify a cause. Idaho Matters talks with a dietitian to learn about the causes of eating disorders and how to prevent them.

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'This Is My Brave' is a community performance of storytellers who share their experiences to try to reduce the stigma attached to mental illness. The next performance is October 19. Idaho Matters speaks to two storytellers about their stories and how they want to change lives.

Heath Druzin / Boise State Public Radio


According to a recent Gallup poll the Mountain West is home to some of the happiest states in the country. Paradoxically we also have some of the highest rates of depressive disorders and suicide. Researchers are trying to find out why. We talk with Mountain West News Bureau reporter Rae Ellen Bichell with KUNC in Colorado, who recently reported on a new hypothesis gaining steam among scientits. Turns out, the mountains might have something to do with it.

The Mountain West has disproportionately high rates of depressive disorders and suicide. Researchers are trying to find out why. Turns out, the mountains themselves might have something to do with it.