Heroes of Uncertainty: Mental Health Professionals
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
The Grove Hotel
Charles Novak, Jeralyn Jones, Amy Thompson

A recent Gallup Poll found that 48% of Americans blame the mental health system "a great deal" for mass shootings in the United States. Idaho has cut state mental health care spending by 11.4 percent from fiscal year 2009 to 2011. In fiscal 2011 Idaho had the lowest state mental health expenditures of all 50 states. Idaho has consistently ranked near the bottom in terms of quality of mental health service and near the top in terms of percentage of individuals in need of mental health services.


The panel, led by Dr. Charles Novak, will discuss how the lack of services impact the consumer, social services, law enforcement and the taxpayer, and what can be done to improve services in our state. Josh Lampert started having psychotic episodes during his sophomore year of college. Triggered by recreational drug use; hallucinations and severe depression overwhelmed him. Now 32, Josh and his father, Chuck, remembered what that struggle was like for both of them, listen to their story here


Charles Novak, MD has 28 years of experience as a psychiatrist, works in the Saint Alphonsus System and serves as the medical director of Sage Healthcare, Intermountain Hospital, and Allumbaugh House.  Dr. Novak is a practicing clinician with some of the most difficult patients in Idaho’s mental health system and very familiar with Idaho’s state mental health system, particularly issues related to hospitalization.  He is known as an advocate for system change.

Jeralyn Jones, MD  is Idaho Director for University of Washington, Advanced Clinician Psychiatry Track and Clinical Associate Professor Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, U of W School of Medicine.  Dr. Jones is a practicing clinician at a community health center in Boise and also very familiar with Idaho’s efforts to grow its own mental health workforce.

Amy Thompson, LMSW  has been a Social Worker for 22 years in both Idaho & Utah.  She is currently Manager of Clinic Operations and Programs at Warm Springs Counseling Center (WSCC) after 5 years serving as its Social Services Manager.  WSCC operates under The Children’s Home Society of Idaho, which opened in 1908 as an orphanage. Amy understands issues faced by clients trying to navigate a broken mental health system as well as the business struggles of a non-profit with a long history in Idaho.

Chair: Julie Robinson
Moderator: Kevin Richert