BOISE, Idaho — Experts say the pandemic has led to an increase in mental illness, and also an increase in relapses for those with substance abuse disorder.
Northpoint Recovery Programs center around a holistic approach to substance abuse recovery, allowing participants to address the root causes of their addiction.
"Substance is no longer the primary focus--the mental health aspect is important," explained Jonathan Meldrum, Northpoint's program manager. "We understand people--sometimes substances are there, but we need to get their mental health squared away so we can focus on other things as well."
Meldrum has seen his fair share of addiction in the gem state. Before he began working at Northpoint, he worked as a police officer. He says his first-hand look at how substance abuse impacts his home state made him want to work toward a solution.
Northpoint offers mental health counseling, family counseling, and other options. They also have a mentorship program that allows those who have been through the program to help others.
Zachary Petersen works with patients going through the program--but just a few years ago he was a patient himself
He went through the program back in 2015 after spending time living on the streets because of addiction. He says for him, the process of getting clean was hard--really hard.
"You feel like you're going to die," Petersen recalled. "You aren't going to die but you feel like it, so you will do anything and everything to get that drug again--because you don't want to feel that way.
He says he's proud to be clean, and to have the chance to be the person he needed when he was struggling.
"I guide them to understand there is a better life out there. I get them to that point," Petersen explained. "I get to see the lightbulb come on. I see them at their worst as well, and to see that (lightbulb) is wonderful--because I was there."
If you need help, Northpoint has resources on its website.
Here's a full list of local resources:
Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline:
Phone: (208) 398-4357
Veteran's Crisis Line:
Phone: 1 (800) 273-8255 (PRESS 1), or you can text: 838255 to get help from professionals, 24/7.
St. Luke's Psychiatric Wellness Clinic:
211 Idaho Careline:
Phone: Dial 211 or 1-800-926-2588
Code 4 Northwest:
Phone: (888) 659-7510
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare:
Phone lists: https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/ContactUs.aspx