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New cooperative effort to fight for better mental health

Posted: 3:20 PM, Jul 23, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-23 17:25:06-04

BOISE, Idaho — 6 On Your Side is committed to raising the level of discussion around mental health issues in our state in our special reports called Finding Hope. Now, one organization is tying together dozens of other organizations to help people navigate a bureaucratic sea.

It's a new cooperative effort from a very diverse group with the Speedy Foundation at its heart.When Idaho Olympian Speedy Peterson died by suicide in 2011, Idaho didn't have its own suicide hotline. His death spurred change. The hotline was installed and has surely saved many lives since. The Speedy Foundation is not stopping there. Its co-founder Shannon Decker says the state turned to her organization for help.

"Last year, the legislature assigned us to rewrite Idaho's suicide prevention plan and there I learned about collective impact," Decker said.

Collective impact is the idea that a group from different sectors can come together for a common agenda, and in Idaho it comes in the form of the Idaho Resilience Project. The idea is to bring as many mental health organizations together to avoid duplicating services while increasing resources and filling gaps in the system.

"It's aimed at mental health, child abuse prevention, aimed at domestic abuse prevention," explains Decker, "It's aimed at overall health improvement."

Since November 60 organizations have signed on across the state, including 6 On Your Side.

"It's going to be easier to access funds for projects and have definitive results to say the work we're doing is empowering people and changing the trajectory of health in Idaho," says Decker.

The project is in it's infancy, but it's something other states embraced long ago.

"We're seeing this formalized in Oregon and Utah," says Decker, "and so Idaho is catching up with centralized impact for social services."

Decker says there are still those agencies that won't embrace the project but she intends to make sure they see the light, "And it's possible because the IRP with in 6 meetings has already got 60 different partners who are ready to meet at the same table."