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Twin Falls School District launches new mental health tool for families

The Twin Falls Sheriff’s Office says there was an increase in suicide cases in 2022. Local school officials have prioritized finding mental health services.

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Addressing mental health is a top priority for the Twin Falls School District and for Twin Falls law enforcement.

"We are responding to more calls of people in crisis, and that includes our teen population," said Lori Stewart, victim's coordinator and public information officer for the Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office.

Stewart says that increase includes calls related to suicide.

"We've definitely seen an increase this year in suicidal calls, people who are actively suicidal that we have to take into the emergency room and have them be evaluated there and get them assistance or friends calling to check up on somebody because they believe they are in crisis,” she said.

This year, Stewart said, the Twin Falls School District has already lost one teen to suicide. Four died by suicide in 2022, one in 2021, and three in 2020. To help, the district released a new mental health tool for all students, families, and staff members.

Twin Falls School District’s Public Relations Director, Eva Craner says, "We want to make sure that we are providing the support to the whole family. Because parents and families have an impact to that individual student," Twin Falls S.D. public relations director Eva Craner said.

Craner also said there’s an ongoing state provider shortage. The shortage encouraged them to seek a different option for the district.

"We were really looking for solutions for 'how do we get a tool in parents' hands so that they can schedule an appointment for their child if they need it and that is where care sales came in to play,” Craner said.

When searching for a tool. Craner says it was important for them to make accessing mental health as easy as possible.

"This program allows parents to call in or access via the website and see all the providers. If they call in they will be in touch with a healthcare navigator who calls the providers to see who has the earliest appointment and gets that scheduled for the family, rather than the parent do all that leg work, which we have heard it's been really challenging,” Craner said. "Mental health and wellness is one of our focus areas for both staff and students in our five-year strategic plan, so it's a big deal for everyone."

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