Document Type


Publication Date


Date of Final Presentation

Spring 3-10-2016

Committee Chair

Shoni Davis, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Pamela Gehrke, Ed.D.

Coordinator/ Chair of DNP Program

Pamela Strofus, DNP

Abstract/ Executive Summary

Background: Idaho ranks last of all states for per capita spending on mental health treatment (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2014). In Idaho, individuals in crisis who suffer from mental illness or Substance Use Disorder (SUD) have few options for care. They often utilize the most expensive treatment through the emergency department, inpatient services, or by going to jail. Idaho has the 7th highest suicide rate in the nation (Suicide Prevention Action Network of Idaho, 2015), while Region 1 of Idaho has the second highest suicide rate in the state from 2010-2014 (Suicide Prevention Action Network of Idaho, 2015).

Methods: This scholarly project uses process evaluation as a method to assist in the transformative work to improve crisis services in Region 1 of Idaho for the behavioral health population. This process evaluation focuses on three objectives: (1) to identify community goals and best practices from the international and national literature that have been shown to effectively respond to community behavioral health crises; (2) to determine how closely key stakeholders in the Region 1 behavioral health coalition agree with each other in addressing behavioral health crises and if they recognize community goals and best practices shown to effectively respond to behavioral health crises; and (3) to conduct a gap analysis that will identify the gaps and challenges in behavioral health crisis services and resources in Region 1.

Results: (1) The literature revealed that there are two best practice goals that are shown to effectively help communities address behavioral health crises; multi-sectoral and suicide prevention approaches; (2) Interview responses of key stakeholders reflect criteria that are associated with a multi-sectoral approach and each agency had long-term goals to address the behavioral health population. However, there was not full agreement on the most urgent community-wide behavioral health crisis needs in Region 1; (3) Gaps in Region 1 were identified as lack of providers, lack of adequate transportation, lack of financial assistance for medications, and lack of housing for the behavioral health population. While most gaps are defined as a best practice in the literature, six gaps are unique to Region 1 and do not meet the definition of a best practice. This suggests that gaps and best practices may be unique to different communities and merits further exploration.

Recommendations: The findings of this process evaluation have the potential to shape the direction of Region 1 behavioral health crisis services. It can provide the foundation for prioritizing best practice strategies for the region. Ultimately, the goal is to decrease suicide by addressing the identified gaps and lack of related best practices in Region 1 for the behavioral health population in crisis.