Troubling Data Trends on Youth Behavioral Health in Southwest Idaho

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Troubling Data Trends on Youth Behavioral Health in Southwest Idaho

CALDWELL, IDAHO – Data showing troubling trends amongst youth behavioral health were shared by Southwest District Health (SWDH) Director, Nikole Zogg, and SWDH Senior Data Analyst, Rachel Pollreis, during the Board of Health meeting held Tuesday, August 24. Information presented to Board members included behavioral health trends, data, current program updates, and the future of behavioral health initiatives in Idaho with an emphasis on youth behavioral health in the Southwest Idaho area. Concerns about the potential behavioral health impacts to youth throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic have been a concern voiced by current board members and members of the public in recent months. 

The full presentation may be found in the August 24, 2021 Board of Health Meeting Packet. Data highlights from the presentation titled Domestic Violence, Self-Harm, and Abuse Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Mental Wellbeing, are as follows: 

  • 10x as many abuse-related injuries in SWDH’s six-county region reported in 2020 relative to 2019. These are small numbers, going from 1 to 10; however, we know many cases go unreported. 90% of reports in 2020 were among children under the age of 20 years. 
  • 25% increase in the number of intentional self-harm injuries among children and adults treated in Idaho hospitals from 2019 to 2020. 
  • Increase in rate of domestic violence victims requiring medical attention in Canyon County. 
  • Thus far, in 2021, the number of people seeking resources from Advocates Against Family Violence has nearly matched 2020.  
  • The number of unhoused people seeking resources from Advocates Against Family Violence doubled in the first five months of 2021 relative to 2020 (12 months).  

“The data are showing us that youth are being significantly impacted by the events that have transpired over the last 24 months. While we cannot change the events of the past, we can build better support systems that equip our youth with tools necessary to develop into thriving young adults. Access to prevention and treatment resources are limited in many of our rural areas and fragmented across our community. We can do better. With the support of the Board of Health, Southwest District Health is committing to engage community partners to fill these gaps, build resiliency, and help our upcoming generations achieve better health.” Said Nikki Zogg, District Director. 

Board members also heard updates on the Idaho Behavioral Health Council Strategic Plan, presented by Gene Petty, Third Judicial District Court Judge and the SWDH Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) and Parents as Teachers (PAT) home visiting programs, which are designed to build resilience among young families in our community.  Parents as Teachers is a free program available to families living in Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington Counties. Parents as Teachers helps guide parents through early learning stages and gives them tools for success. Nurse Family Partnership provides eligible first-time Canyon County moms with access to home visiting nurses and helps transform lives. Ongoing home visits from registered nurses provide these first-time moms with the care and support they need to have a healthy pregnancy, tools to provide responsible and competent care for their children, and resources to become economically self-sufficient.  

For adults 18 years and older experiencing mental health and/or substance use crises, thWestern Idaho Community Crisis Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for walk-in and telehealth services. The center provides immediate, compassionate care, resources to promote recovery, and first steps to stability. The center may be reached at 208-402-1044 or visit in-person at 524 Cleveland Blvd., Suite 160, Caldwell, ID 83605. 

The SWDH Board of Health meetings are held monthly and live-streamed via YouTube for public viewing. The meeting recordings are also hosted and available for later viewing at www.youtube.com/southwestdistricthealth. The presentations and board proceedings may be viewed at any time.

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Media Contacts: 

Ashley Anderson           Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov
Katrina Williams            Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

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Health advisories issued for Lake Lowell, Hells Canyon Reservoir and Brownlee Reservoir

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Health advisories issued for Lake Lowell, Hells Canyon Reservoir and Brownlee Reservoir                                             

CALDWELL, IDAHO – Southwest District Health (SWDH) and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) are issuing health advisories for LAKE LOWELL, HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR and BROWNLEE RESERVOIR, urging residents to use caution when recreating in or near the water.  

Recent samples taken from the water bodies indicate high concentrations of toxin-producing cyanobacteria, which can be harmful to people, pets, and livestock. Those with liver or kidney damage are at an increased risk of illness. 

Cyanobacteria are a natural part of Idaho’s water bodies. When temperatures rise, their populations can bloom and toxic chemical compounds, or cyanotoxins, can be released into the water. Blooms can vary in appearance, and may look like mats, foam, spilled paint, or surface scum, and have a foul odor. 

When recreating near or in LAKE LOWELL, HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR and BROWNLEE RESERVOIR, take the following precautions while the advisory is in effect: 

  • Avoid swimming, wading, or other activities. Take extra precautions to ensure children, pets, and livestock are not exposed to the water. 
  • Do not drink or cook with water containing a bloom. Boiling and filtering the water can increase the risk. 
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling fish caught in water experiencing a bloom. Cyanotoxins can accumulate in fish and the risk to people is being researched. Any fish caught should be cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water and any internal organs disposed of before consumption. If people choose to eat fish from this area, filet the fish and remove all of the fat, skin, and organs before cooking.  
  • Clean with potable water as soon as possible if water contacts skin or pet fur. 

Symptoms of cyanotoxin exposure include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and/or wheezing. More severe symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system may result from ingesting water. If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare provider.  

The public will be advised when it is likely the concern no longer exists.  

For more information about harmful algal blooms, visit DEQ’s website at https://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/cyanobacteria-harmful-algal-blooms/  

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Media Contacts: 

DEQ media contact:
Chase Cusack                Chase.Cusack@deq.idaho.gov 

Southwest District Health contacts:
Ashley Anderson           Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov
Katrina Williams            Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

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Human West Nile Virus Case Identified in Canyon County Health Officials Encourage Taking Precautions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Human West Nile Virus Case Identified in Canyon County

Health Officials Encourage Taking Precautions                

CALDWELL, IDAHO – West Nile virus has been confirmed in a Canyon County resident. This is the first 2021 human case of West Nile virus (WNV) infection in the counties served by Southwest District Health.

West Nile virus (WNV) is a potentially serious illness that is usually spread to animals and humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It does not spread from person-to-person. Most people (8 out of 10) infected with the virus do not show symptoms, although more severe symptoms may occur, especially in individuals older than 60. People with symptoms may experience fever, headaches, body aches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash typically occurring 2 to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.

“About one in 150 people infected with WNV develop severe illness such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), or meningitis (inflammation of the linings of the brain and spinal cord),” said Ricky Bowman, Program Manager for Southwest District Health. “These more severe infections are marked by a rapid onset of a high fever, headache, neck stiffness, body aches, disorientation, and tremors, and may require hospitalization” he said.

The more time you spend outdoors, the higher your chances are that you could be bitten by an infected mosquito. To reduce your risk of contracting WNV you should:

  • If possible, avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active and feeding. If you must be outside at dawn or dusk, take precautions such as wearing long sleeves, pants, and loose-fitting clothing.
  • Use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredients, such as DEET or Picaridin (Follow manufacturers’ instructions on the label) when outside. In addition, certain products containing permethrin are recommended for use on clothing, shoes, bed nets, and camping gear.
  • Insect-proof your home by making sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by draining standing water from flowerpots, buckets, barrels, pool covers, and wading pools.
  • Avoid over-irrigating your lawns, gardens, or pastures.
  • Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths and watering troughs at least twice weekly.
  • Drill holes in tire swings or old tires so water drains out.
  • Get your horses vaccinated against West Nile.

WNV does not usually affect domestic animals, such as dogs and cats, but it can cause severe illness in horses and certain bird species. There is no human vaccine available but there are vaccines available for horses. People are advised to vaccinate their horses to protect them against WNV.

For more information on WNV please visit:

For more information on insect repellents, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents

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Media Contacts: 

Ashley Anderson           Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov
Katrina Williams            Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

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