Monday, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare confirmed that the facility would go to Coeur d'Alene in Idaho Health District 1, which includes Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai and Shoshone counties. The Idaho Legislature approved $1.7 million for the facility during the 2015 legislative session.
This will be the second state-funded crisis center of its kind in Idaho. The first was approved during the 2014 legislative session and is located in Idaho Falls. Behavioral health crisis centers are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and provide a secure location where professionals can defuse mental health or substance abuse crises.
During testimony in February 2014 on SB 1352—the bill that established the Idaho Falls center—Ketchum Democratic Sen. Michelle Stennett told lawmakers about a friend who had gone to a rural health center because he was experiencing a severe seizure:
"But that rural medical facility didn't have the staff to give a proper diagnosis and they unknowingly overmedicated him. He went into a psychotic episode," said Stennett. "And they couldn't transfer him to another facility unless he was restrained and accompanied by police. Law enforcement finally had to transport him for four hours to the closest facility, and when he came off of the drug, he wonder where he was and what the heck had happened. This is just one example of something that got out of control and shouldn't have."According to the Press, Coeur d'Alene demonstrated in 2014 that it had a high need for a behavioral crisis center but north Idaho legislators didn't support funding the operation. This year, three lawmakers voted against placing a center in the area: Republican Reps. Kathy Sims, Coeur d'Alene; Ron Mendive, Post Falls; and Vito Barbieri, Dalton Gardens.
"It is pretty exciting that we got it this time. This is going to save a lot of lives."