As I watch news reports about the severity of winter in so much of the country, including the east where I come from, I can’t help but feel fortunate to live in Idaho and especially Boise. It has felt like spring for most of the year so far, which I believe is a sign of even more good weather to come.
Speaking of good things to come, I am excited to report that the Jeff D lawsuit mediation has concluded and although the outcome has not been officially announced, it appears the settlement and new proposals it will generate, will greatly benefit the Children’s Mental Health system for years to come. As we learn more about new plans designed to benefit kids and their families, we will try to keep our readers as informed as possible. And that is not the only exciting news.
The newly transformed regional Behavioral Health Boards, Statewide Planning Council and CMH Sub-committees are moving forward and promising to produce outcomes beneficial to the Idaho mental health system. IFFCMH is pleased to be a part of many of the boards and committees throughout the state and doing what we can to bring the voice of kids and their families to the table and through their self empowerment, help them to become stronger advocates for themselves and their families. There appear to be great things ahead for the boards and committees, with benefits already beginning to spread throughout the state as programs and projects are being planned and developed.
One statewide project of the regional sub-committees that promises to have a big impact is the upcoming Children’s Mental Health Awareness week, May 2-9. Regional committees are making their plans to present programs designed to inform, educate and increase CMH awareness. In addition to awareness walks, special presentations and training opportunities, a statewide Poster Contest for kids in three age groupings, with regional winners receiving prizes and competing in the overall statewide contest and prizes will be offered. Based on the national theme for the awareness week, “Mental Health Is Fundamental,” entry forms and information on the contest will be out soon, with statewide winners announced during the awareness week. For information on the awareness week, including the poster contest, contact the IFFCMH office at 208-433-8845.
And there is even more cause for excitement in the days ahead. Coming soon will be an opportunity for parents with lived experience to become trained and certified as Parent Peer Partners. Parents receiving certification will become eligible to take on new paid roles with providers and have a chance to share their experience as they help other families and their kids. Thanks to the cooperative effort on the part of Optum Idaho and the Idaho Behavioral Health Department this peer program will be possible. Speaking of peer certification, I wish to congratulate our Family Support Specialist in Region 5, Mindy Hoskovec who is our third FSS to achieve National Certification.
While I am reporting good things to come, I also wish to mention an “Emergency Respite Care” project, sponsored by the ID Commission on Aging and ID Caregivers Alliance, and designed to cover the cost of caregivers hiring respite care providers during an emergency. If all goes as planned, this will be in operation sometime this spring. It is anticipated that the emergency respite funds will be available for caregivers providing 24/7 care to anyone of any age and disabling condition. Stay tuned to future NewsBlasts and messages from IFFCMH regarding this project. So now you see why I am excited and why I can hardly wait for the “real” spring and more good things to come.