Crush the Curve Idaho was born in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. For nearly three years, the small nonprofit has operated coronavirus testing and vaccine clinics for the public, schools, employers and long term care facilities.

Now that COVID-19 tests and vaccines are widely available, the organization has turned its attention to another of Idaho’s public health emergencies: mental health. This week, Crush the Curve unveiled on its website, crushthecurveidaho.com, an interactive, online mental health directory of facilities and clinics that offer psychiatric care, therapy and substance use treatment services.

“Our goal has never been to try to replace the efforts (of others),” said Maricela Ríos, community liaison at Crush the Curve. “One of our goals is to highlight the awesome efforts that we already have going on in our state.”

The directory allows users to filter results to match what they need. For example, a parent who is seeking help for their child might use the filters to find a residential care facility for kids and teens, or to locate a telehealth counselor who accepts Medicaid.

Because the landscape of Idaho’s mental health care system is constantly changing, Crush the Curve urges people to contact a facility or care provider to make sure they are taking new patients. The website also cannot confirm insurance coverage for a facility.

The nonprofit isn’t totally winding down its COVID-19 work, but it is scaling back, now that demand is much lower, Ríos said.

As the Crush the Curve team worked in the community with health care providers, long term care facility administrators and others, “light was shed on this reality” that Idaho’s mental health care systems are difficult to navigate, Ríos said.

“And it’s like, OK, what can we do next in order to support our community? After making phone calls and having conversations, this was one of the things that came up,” she said.

The directory will not solve the greater problem for Idaho: the drastic shortage of mental health providers all across the state. But the organization hopes its latest project can help simplify the first step in finding help.

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