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Magic Valley gets mental health boost with new St Luke's Behavioral Health Clinic

Posted at 4:27 PM, May 23, 2024

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — To better meet the mental health needs in the Magic Valley, St. Luke's officially opened its new Behavioral Health Clinicin Twin Falls on Wednesday, May 22, 2024.

  • Located at 815 North College Road in Twin Falls, the new location for St. Luke’s Behavioral Health Services provides room for an additional 11 clinicians to expand care for adults and children.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

People experiencing mental health concerns will now have a new option to get help.

"Having this facility and being able to handle the capacity it can handle, I truly believe it's going to help save lives,” Cari Eskridge told me.

Eskridge was master of ceremonies at the ribbon cutting event for St Luke's new Behavioral Health Clinic in Twin Falls.

She's excited for the community, in what has for so many people been a very personal journey through the ongoing statewide mental health crisis. (She hosts a podcast called Sick Moms Podcast, which deals with many issues including mental health, parenting, and healthy living.)

"We lose a lot of people here because we have a beautiful bridge but it's also a very tragic bridge,” Eskridge said. “I've lost friends. And, as a young person, I stood on that bridge. And by the grace of God, I came back.”

The clinic was renovated thanks to $800,000 of community-raised funds and will add an additional 11 clinicians serving the Magic Valley.

“So this is, we think, one of the largest, if not the largest, behavioral health clinics in the whole state of Idaho at this point,” Dr. Michael Walton told me.

Walton is the Medical Director for Behavioral Health at St Luke’s. He tells me Idaho is currently 5th in the nation in suicides, while the entire state sees a mental health professional shortage area, with 50% fewer psychiatrists per capita than even Montana,

"So people wait a really long time to get in and get the help that they need and often when people recognize they need help for a mental health problem,” Walton said. ”They need it then and not many months down on the road."

Rates of anxiety, depression, and hopelessness have increased in the past five to ten years among adolescents, according to the CDC, and more mental health help is a move in the right direction.

“Having these preventive services in place in crisis management, in crisis care, and ongoing mental health help is so important,” Eskridge said.