What’s it like to wait for lifesaving care, despite signs that clearly show you’re in need of help-because you’re suffering silently with mental illness?

“It’s like telling somebody with diabetes that he’ll have to wait until he’s in a coma,” says Kathie Garrett, co-chairman of the Idaho Council on Suicide Prevention.

That’s the current nature of our nation’s mental health care system. It’s a system that provides little or no incentive for early identification and intervention, and many opportunities for cost shifting and cost avoidance. In mental health, consumers often experience fragmented care with varying levels of access. Often, they must become very sick before they receive appropriate services.

Mental Health

It’s everyone’s concern. The economic burden of mental illness is extreme, with estimates as high as $317 billion per year. If these statistics were associated with any other medical condition, there would be outrage. But there is hope for change.

When it comes to mental health and substance use care, providing the right care at the right time is the guiding principle of the Miller-Dwan Foundation’s support for quality mental health care in our region. From the creation of Amberwing and the support of inpatient and intensive psychiatric care, timely accessibility is key to fewer tragedies and reduced health care costs.

A gift to the Miller-Dwan Foundation designated to mental health care will help champion vital mental health services by supporting access to a comprehensive continuum that includes multiple levels of care, including:

• Adult Inpatient Mental Health – This program provides psychiatric care to those 18 years of age and older who need a safe, therapeutic environment where they can develop their own personalized plan to achieve their highest level of mental, physical, social and spiritual well-being.

• Adolescent Inpatient Mental Health – Like adults, children and adolescents can have mental health disorders that interfere with the way they think, act and feel. And just like physical health, mental health is important at every stage of life.

• Adult Partial Hospitalization Program – This kind of comprehensive, short-term, intensive, clinical care is a step below inpatient hospitalization, but more concentrated than traditional outpatient care, such as individual counseling. Individuals in partial hospitalization programs attend structured programming throughout the day, three to five days a week, and return home in the evenings.

These programs save lives. And with your help, these services will always be available to meet the varied and growing needs of even our most complex patients. Ensuring access to quality mental health care embodies compassion, dignity of the person and hope. With your help, we can do better.

Support our region’s largest mental health center.
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