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'When in doubt just reach out to us': Caldwell crisis center sees uptick in need

The Western Idaho Community Crisis Center serves several counties and is free.

CALDWELL, Idaho — The call for crisis help has been increasing across our area. In the last four months, in particular, the Western Idaho Community Crisis Center in Caldwell has seen a big uptick. 

The center has staff available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help those experiencing mental health or substance abuse crises.

"Really trying to communicate what the resource is and who it's available to has been a goal of ours," explained Southwest District Health Director Nikki Zogg, a member of the crisis center's advisory board. "We've been trying to emphasize over the last six months or so and get the message out there for people." 

Lately, the free walk-in crisis center has been used much more by the community. Sarah Andrade, the director of behavioral health for Lifeways, Inc., which operates the center, says they now help around 14 people every day. That number is up from just a few per day when they first opened in April of 2019.

"So right now what we're seeing are individuals really struggling with homelessness or home insecurity," Andrade said. "We're also seeing people struggling with food insecurity. So not knowing where their next meal is coming from."

The crisis center is also seeing a lot of substance abuse and mental health issues. 

"It's an opportunity to meet with the clinician, with an EMT, peer support specialist, case manager, recovery coach, and really identify what resources exist in the community that give you the best shot at stability, but will also be a match for you in terms of where you land with insurance coverage or without insurance coverage," Andrade said.

"It's not coming and leaving with a list of places to go," Andrade continued. "It's coming and meeting with somebody who has maybe walked that same road you have while you're struggling with a substance abuse disorder or a mental health issue or struggling with the normal phase of life issue which is really feeling doubled down because of where the community is at right now with COVID and isolation and the economic insecurity individuals are experiencing as well as this sort of overwhelming grief and concern that life won't return to the way it was."

Being a crisis center, people can stay up to 24 hours. It may take one hour or 23 hours and 59 minutes. Either way, Andrade says they will make sure to give the care that is needed.

"This is a kind, loving and supportive resource that was put together by your community for you," Andrade said. "When in doubt just reach out to us. We're here for you."

The Western Idaho Community Crisis Center serves Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette and Washington counties. It is a facility just for adults. 

Those who can't get transportation to the center can call and they will help organize transportation or set up a virtual meeting.

The center is located at 524 Cleveland Blvd Suite 160, in Caldwell. The phone number is (208) 402-1044.  

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