Youth - Frequently Asked Questions

Not everyone who has a mental health concern has serious emotional disturbance (SED), but other types of mental health issues can also benefit from treatment. Completing a mental health assessment will help you decide if mental health care could help you feel better.

If you do not currently have a mental health provider and you need help locating a mental health care professional for an assessment, please contact your local Children’s Mental Health (CMH) office, Optum (if you currently eligible for Medicaid), or your private insurance company for local resources.

If you need to speak with someone about your mental health you have a few options.

If you are having a mental health emergency, or you think you are in danger, please contact 9-1-1 or go to your local emergency room. If you are considering suicide, or just need to talk to someone, please call (or text between 3 pm and midnight, (Monday - Friday), the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline at 208-398-4357 (HELP).

If you are looking for a counselor or other mental health care provider you can:

Some services require a parent or guardian to be involved, while others may not. CMH and/or your insurance company should be able to give you more details.

Start by talking to a responsible adult who is concerned about you and can help. This might be a family member, a friend’s parent, a teacher, school nurse, guidance counselor, a doctor, or a leader at your church. If you already have a mental health provider, you can make an appointment to talk about your needs.

If you do not have anyone you are comfortable talking with, you have a few options:

  • You can call (or text 3pm- midnight Monday-Friday) the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline at 208-398-HELP (4357).
  • You can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).

Both of these numbers can help you find someone to talk to in your area. You do not need to be considering suicide to call.

There are three main changes coming to Children’s Mental Health. These changes are:

  • Improved access to services: Multiple ways to start services, more access to Medicaid, better information about services offered
  • Improved choice of services:New services and supports available, more providers trained to provide services
  • Improved quality of services: Collaborative, strengths-based, family-based, community-based

These improvements are all part of a program called Youth Empowerment Services (YES) which begins in 2018.

Youth Empowerment Services (YES) is a system of care that helps children and youth under the age of 18 who are identified as having serious emotional disturbance (SED).

The goal of YES is to give children and youth who have SED access to the services and supports that will help them improve their mental health.

To qualify for Youth Empowerment Services (YES) a person under the age of 18 must have serious emotional disturbance (SED).

Starting January 2, 2018, to determine if you qualify for YES, you can call 1-877-305-3469 to schedule an independent assessment.

The independent assessor will use the CANS-50 (a shorter version of the full CANS) combined with a diagnosis from the DSM to determine if you are eligible to receive YES services.

Serious emotional disturbance (SED) is a legal term that refers to people who have a mental, behavioral or emotional issue that limits their ability to participate in family, school, or community activities.

A person is identified as having SED if they have both a qualifying diagnosable mental illness and a substantial functional impairment. A new tool, the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) will be used in Idaho to measure functional impairment and to help guide treatment planning and measure effectiveness.

The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) is a tool that looks at different areas of your life, such as:

  • Your past experiences
  • Individual strengths
  • Social and family interactions
  • Your emotional needs
  • Your activities

The CANS will identify areas where you show strength and areas where you need support. You can then use this information to create a plan to improve your mental health.

One benefit of using the CANS to create your plan is that it gives everyone a common language when talking about your care. This means that everyone involved in helping you will know what goals you are working on and what strengths you have to help you along the way. Youth Empowerment Services (YES) is based on a team approach to planning, so this common language with common goals will help you design a plan that works for you.

That is a hard question to answer because everyone has a different story.

What we do know is that having a diagnosis and the results from a Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment can give you valuable information about yourself. Knowing what your strengths are can help you focus on what works for you. Knowing what your needs are can help you find supports.

Having a diagnosis can help your doctor understand your medical needs. Together, those things can help you feel better.

If your family does not know about YES, you can have them read the YES 101 brochure. You can also have them look at the parent section of this website to find more information.

A big part of Youth Empowerment Services (YES) is the Child and Family Team (CFT).

Depending on the CANS level of care recommendation, YES participants will work with providers to either use the Child and Family Team Approach, or to have a CFT.

After July 1, 2018, each participant in YES will have the opportunity to form a team that will help create a plan to improve their mental health. Members of the team include (at a minimum) you, your family, and your mental health provider(s). You can also include other people who support you, such as extended family, neighbors, friends, coaches, and other community members such as faith-based leaders, tribal members, and teachers.

As you work together to develop your plan, your family can help you identify goals and support you as you work towards them.

If you have family or friends who may benefit from Youth Empowerment Services (YES), you can share the website, give them the YES 101 brochure, or talk to them about finding a mental health provider or calling for an independent assessment. You can also be supportive of their mental health goals and join their Child and Family team (CFT) if they ask you to.

If you are worried about the safety of a friend or family member who may struggle with mental health concerns, you have a few options.

  • SPAN Idaho has a flyer with information about getting help for a friend.
  • You can call (or text 3 pm - midnight, Monday - Friday) the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline at 208-398-HELP (4357).
  • You can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-TALK (8255).
  • Use the Crisis Text Line at 741741 and a Crisis Counselor will text back.

If you don’t meet the criteria for YES, you will still be able to get mental health care.

There are mental health providers all over the state that can help you. If you have private insurance, there should be a phone number and website on your insurance card to help you find a list of providers. If you have Medicaid, you can contact Optum to find mental health providers in your area. If you do not have insurance, or are unsure of where to start, you can contact your local Children’s Mental Health office.

As YES continues to develop, many of these providers will be trained to administer the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment which is an extra tool to help you identify a plan to feel better.

What if I have more questions?

If you still have more questions, please use the "Contact Us" link.