Our benefactor Jack Murdock believed strongly that mental health and access to mental health services are vital to the health of our communities. This has never been more true than in our present day as we enter the third year of a global pandemic that has exacerbated existing mental health challenges and created new ones. A recent study shows that while the rates of mental health challenges remain largely equal across rural and urban areas, both prior to and during the pandemic, access to mental health services is significantly lower in rural areas. The Murdock Trust is fortunate to partner with a number of organizations expanding mental health services to those in rural communities. One such project is the construction of Madison Memorial Hospital’s new Behavioral Health Unit.
In the southeast region of a state with consistently high suicide rates, Madison County, Idaho has seen for itself the need for greater mental health services in the last several years. Patients in critical need of inpatient psychiatric services would sit in Madison Memorial Hospital’s emergency room for hours—in some cases, days—waiting for an available bed. Of the 400+ mental health visits annually, the emergency department would transport 150+ patients to larger cities in Idaho and Utah due to lack of sufficient beds and psychiatric professionals in their own facility. Recently, a community survey identified that mental health was the most critical need in the region.
With a new Behavioral Health Unit, Madison Memorial Hospital will be equipped to provide quality inpatient care for those most in need. A 12-bed, crisis-stabilizing facility will allow them to treat approximately 150 patients annually. Because nearly 1/3 of their patients presenting with mental health concerns are BYU-Idaho students, many of these beds will likely be filled with young adults needing critical care.
The Murdock Trust is honored to play a small part in creating a healthier Madison County through a capacity building grant to help fund this critical project. Thank you, Madison Memorial Health, for caring for the well being of your community in so many ways. And thank you to all the organizations across the Pacific Northwest seeking to understand and support mental health. Jack would be so grateful for your work!