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Idaho Mental Health Services Guide

Many people don't realize that publicly-funded mental health services are available in their state. People looking for free or low-cost counseling often think their only options are counselors in private practice and don't know that publicly-funded providers in their communities may also offer counseling services. 


While state-based programs are not for everyone, they're often a great place to start for people who face geographic or financial barriers to therapy. Intake specialists at community mental health programs can help people learn whether they qualify for state-funded services and can refer people who don't qualify to other low-cost programs that may be able to meet their needs.


When Should You Go to a State Mental Health Program?


Few private mental health providers are able to immediately serve people in crisis, while most state mental health agencies, including Idaho's, have crisis response systems that help people get mental health care quickly in an emergency. This usually makes public mental health services the best option if you're having a mental health crisis and need help right away. The people who answer crisis lines can provide caring attention and support as they help you determine the best response to a crisis, whether it's inpatient treatment or an appointment with a counselor.


Publicly-funded providers in Idaho offer an array of outpatient mental health services. In addition to affordable therapy, state-sponsored programs provide specialized and intensive services that aren't available anywhere else or that are hard to find in private clinics, like case management, psychosocial rehabilitation, and day treatment. Consider going to a publicly-funded provider if you need intensive treatment, live in an area with limited mental health resources, or can't access mental health care in the private sector due to your diagnosis or financial situation.

Who Is Eligible for Public Mental Health Services in Idaho?


Idaho's behavioral health department authorizes private programs to provide publicly-funded outpatient mental health services. Since these agencies are privately operated, they have some leeway to set their own eligibility requirements. While they prioritize clients who have limited incomes, are eligible for Medicaid, or have severe mental illness, most publicly-funded programs in Idaho serve clients with a range of mental health needs and income levels, including people with milder mental health issues. Eligibility for financial aid depends on several factors.


On their "Get Help" page, the Behavioral Health Division of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare states, "Adult mental health services are available from many providers in Idaho. Payment for services depends on your financial situation and whether you are eligible for Medicaid. If you are not eligible for Medicaid, you can still receive mental health services in Idaho. Depending on your income, you may have to pay a portion of the cost for services. [What you'll pay] depends on a variety of circumstances such as the number of people in your household, your income, and other factors."


Most programs in the Idaho public network accept both public and private insurance and offer reduced fees to those who qualify. However, not all programs offer all of these options. Since admission criteria, financial aid, and accepted payment methods differ from program to program, the best way to find out if you can get low-cost counseling at a publicly-funded provider is to call the program you're interested in and ask. Many state-funded agencies will give you free referrals to other providers if you don't qualify for their services.

How Can You Find Out More About Local Programs in Idaho?


To find out if you can get the services you need at a publicly-funded provider in Idaho, you can call your Regional Behavioral Health Office (see below) or call the specific provider you are interested in. You can also contact the Idaho CareLine at 2-1-1 or (800) 926-2588 for information about local treatment options and referrals to low-cost mental health programs and other community resources. You can call the Division of Behavioral Health at (208) 334-6997 for general information about the Idaho public mental health system.


We've listed numbers for regional behavioral health offices, crisis lines, crisis centers, and contracted service providers below. We got this information from the Department of Health and Welfare website, the Idaho 2-1-1 website, and the Optum Idaho Medicaid provider database. Not all providers listed in these networks contract directly with the state, so it's best to call and ask what services they offer, what they cost, and whether they provide financial assistance. 


Idaho's Mental Health Clinics and Access Numbers




  • Region 3: Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington Counties
  1. Region 3 Department of Health and Welfare Behavioral Health Offices:
    • Caldwell Adult Mental Health Services Office (3402 Franklin Road): (208) 459-0092
    • Nampa Adult Mental Health Services Office (823 Park Centre Way): (208) 459-0092
    • Payette Adult Mental Health Services Office (515 N. 16th Street): (208) 642-6416
  2. Regional Crisis Center for Region 3:
  3. Adult Outpatient Mental Health Service Providers in Caldwell:
  4. Adult Outpatient Mental Health Service Providers in Nampa:
  5. Other Region 3 Adult Outpatient Mental Health Service Providers:


  • Region 4: Ada, Boise, Elmore, and Valley Counties
    1. Region 4 Department of Health and Welfare Behavioral Health Offices:
      • Boise Office Adult Mental Health Services Office (1720 Westgate Drive): (208) 334-0800
      • Mountain Home Adult Mental Health Services Office (2420 American Legion Boulevard: (208) 334-0800
      • Region 4 Mental Health After-Hours Crisis Line: (208) 334-0808
  1. Pathways Community Crisis Center of Southwest Idaho(Boise): (833) 527-4747
    1. Adult Outpatient Mental Health Service Providers in Boise:
    2. Adult Outpatient Mental Health Service Providers in Meridian:
    3. Other Region 4 Adult Outpatient Mental Health Service Providers:




  • Region 7: Bingham, Bonneville, Butte, Clark, Custer, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison, and Teton Counties
  1. Region 7 Department of Health and Welfare Behavioral Health Offices:
    • Blackfoot Office Adult Mental Health Services Office (720 East Alice): (208) 785-5871
    • Idaho Falls Adult Mental Health Services Office (150 Shoup Avenue): (208) 528-5700
    • Rexburg Office Adult Mental Health Services Office (333 Walker Drive): (208) 528-5700
    • Salmon Office Adult Mental Health Services Office (Corner of Lombard and Poleline): (208) 528-5700
    • Region 7 Mental Health After-Hours Crisis Line: (208) 528-5700
  2. Regional Crisis Center for Region 7:
  3. Adult Outpatient Mental Health Service Providers in Idaho Falls:
  4. Other Region 7 Adult Outpatient Mental Health Service Providers:


Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) are another option for public mental health care in Idaho. These federally-funded programs provide medical and mental health services to people in underserved communities. Their goal is to deliver high-quality coordinated care to people with complex needs and to link behavioral healthcare with primary medical care. Each FQHC accepts Medicaid and Medicare and offers sliding-scale fees to people without insurance. You can search for FQHCs using the online search tool on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website. 


How Does Idaho's Public Mental Health System Work?

In the 1960s, Americans started thinking differently about how to treat mental health conditions. New laws required state and local governments to establish community mental health programs as alternatives to institutionalization for people with serious mental illness. Many states' public mental health programs trace their origins back to this period. 


Idaho is no exception. It started building community mental health centers in the early 1970s using federal funding created by the 1963 Community Mental Health Centers Act. However, less than a decade later, the state stopped funding and supporting its community mental health centers when this source of federal funding was no longer available.


From the 1980s to the 2010s, Idaho's public mental health system suffered successive funding cuts and service reductions. The cuts accelerated after the national recession of 2008. In an expert statement prepared for the state commission on civil rights, DisAbility Rights Idaho stated that from 2007 to 2014, "many adults and children with mental illness have sought community mental health services and been turned away by the [Health and Welfare] Department."


Things are starting to get better, thanks in part to the "Jeff D. lawsuit," which challenged the lack of safe public mental health care options for children in Idaho. The suit started in 1980 and was finally settled in 2015. In response to the settlement, Idaho launched new, robust mental health programs for children in 2018 and also started improving its adult mental health system. The state has been opening new crisis centers for adults, which offer free crisis intervention as an alternative to hospitalization or jail, and expanding other adult mental health resources. Idaho also recently launched its CareLine to help more people find affordable mental health care.


Public mental health services in Idaho are managed on the state level by the Department of Health and Welfare (DHW). In addition to operating the state's two psychiatric hospitals in Blackfoot and Orofino, DHW oversees the state's Regional Behavioral Health Offices and helps manage the state's network of outpatient and community-based mental health service providers.


According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), only 47.5 percent of people in Idaho who have mental health conditions get treatment for them. One reason for the care gap is that people aren't aware of their options for affordable mental health care, including the public mental health system. You can help change these statistics by reaching out and using your local mental health resources to get the care you need.

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