State opens standalone psychiatric hospital for youth
The following is a news release and photo from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
The Department of Health and Welfare is pleased to announce today’s official opening of State Hospital West (SHW). The new facility provides a secure setting where youth will receive more intensive comprehensive behavioral health services than they could receive in a community hospital environment, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The new facility is on the grounds of the Southwest Idaho Treatment Center in Nampa and will provide treatment for up to 16 adolescents ages 12-17 years old and employ 51 staff.
Previously, adolescents who needed this level of care were treated in a unit at State Hospital South in Blackfoot. That unit will be converted to a high-risk adult unit for those who are committed to the state of Idaho. Most of the adolescents at State Hospital South had family and other supports in the Treasure Valley area, and the location of SHW is expected to make it easier for families to support their children at a critical and challenging time.
“The Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans — that’s why we exist. This new facility is one of the tangible ways that we deliver on that mission,” said DHW Director Dave Jeppesen. “As you know, this is a facility for 12-17-year-old youth who have psychiatric conditions. Typically, these youth have a need for a high level of care, higher than they can find in the community – they may be a danger to themselves and others – and this is what this facility is for, to help those youth. To give them a safe place that is geared towards them and helps them to be successful.”
The facility is designed to be self-contained. All education, meals, recreation, and lodging are in the facility and on the grounds.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have this new facility in Nampa and serve Idaho’s most vulnerable youth population. The children who will live in this residency will get the opportunity for much-needed care and proper treatment,” said Sen. Jeff Agenbroad, R-Nampa. “The Nampa community has a rich history of serving people in need, starting more than a century ago with the Idaho State School and Hospital. I am proud of our city for being a place this particular population can feel at home and for helping with all the good work being done.”
Idaho has prioritized behavioral health issues in the state with the creation of the Idaho Behavioral Health Council, which includes members from the executive branch of government, the Legislative branch, and the judicial branch. The council is working to ensure that adults, children, and their families who live with mental illness and addiction in Idaho receive the behavioral health care services they need when they need them. DHW Director Jeppesen is a co-chair, along with Sara Omundson, administrative director of the courts.
Parents of adolescents who are looking for assistance may call the Idaho CareLine by dialing 2-1-1 in Idaho.