Pathways of Idaho anticipates opening of youth crisis center in Boise this fall

Crisis center offers patients, families experiencing mental health issues an alternative to police intervention, ER visit in the Treasure Valley

By: - August 4, 2023 4:30 am

FYIdaho and the Pathways of Idaho's youth crisis center aim to connect Idaho youth and their families with resources regarding mental health. (Getty Images)

Pathways of Idaho is opening a youth behavioral crisis center in Boise on Oct. 16. 

Pathways of Idaho has one crisis center and four other offices located within the Treasure Valley. Pathways offers mental health programs along with resource connections for those struggling with mental health. 

Crisis center vs inpatient hospitalization

The Pathways crisis center is a voluntary option for those experiencing an emotional or behavioral crisis. 

“Pathways Crisis Centers are a step below inpatient hospitalization,” said Shannon Moskitis, a clinician and social worker at Pathways of Idaho. “People who come in for services at our facility can leave at any time… Our services are really set up for people who have some mental health needs or maybe have some substance use needs, but they’re not as acute as what would require a full hospitalization.” 

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According to its website, the Pathways Community Crisis Center of Southwest Idaho is designed to de-escalate mental health issues to prevent the need for higher levels of care. The crisis center is available to adults 18 and up and is open 24 hours a day all year round. Individuals are able to stay at the facility for up to 23 hours and 59 minutes. Along with counseling and some medical resources, the crisis center offers referral assistance for other resources in the community. 

Pathways also assists in substance abuse issues, although it does not offer medical detoxification.

Differences in youth crisis centers and adult center

Pathways’ Youth Behavioral Crisis Center aims to offer the same resources and level of care in an environment catered to youth 12-17 years old. According to Moskitis, the youth crisis center offers case managers, peer support and counseling. They also provide resources for parents and guardians, including education and referral to services throughout the Treasure Valley.

FYIdaho is another organization that aims to help families and youth with mental health and connecting with resources. 

“It can be really uncomfortable and panicky, and that doesn’t help one deescalate,” said Ruth York, the executive director of FYIdaho. “It’s so important that we now have places that can recognize the need and the best course of action, and give a kid time up to one minute shy of 24 hours to spend with them to really get full decompression. To have that time to figure out ‘does this child need to transition to a higher level of care?’”

According to York, mental health resources for youth have hired young adults who have experienced mental health issues as teens. 

unfurnished kitchen area of the youth crisis center.
Kitchen area of the youth crisis center. (Karleen Smith, director of operations for Pathways)

Reception desk near the entrance. (Karleen Smith, director of operations for Pathways)

One side of resting area. (Karleen Smith, director of operations for Pathways)


The youth crisis center offers another less intense option for the families of the youth. 

“For situations that can’t be managed at home because the youth may be a danger to themselves or a danger to others, instead of having to call the police and have it handled as a police matter, there’s this new option of ‘let’s get to the crisis center and see what they can suggest for us as a family and you as a youth,’” York said. “The other option has always been emergency rooms, which are often not staffed with people who are experts at youth mental health crises.”

York said she hopes this new option will reduce the stress and amount of calls that affect police and hospitals. 

Seeking professional help for mental health

According to York, mental health and behavioral crises can be a strenuous and frightening situation, and seeking professional help can feel intimidating to some. 

“You are among friends at FYIdaho (or) at a crisis center,” York said. “You’re among people who understand how you’re feeling, what you’re dealing with in your family, and who want to help you, but you get to stay in charge. I think the most important thing for both kids and parents is to have some feeling that they know themselves best. They know their kid best.”

According to Moskitis, there are many crisis centers that are not operated by Pathways of Idaho, across the state, including one that recently opened in Idaho Falls.

“We’re all just here to support you and the choices that you make for your mental health and your treatment,” said Moskitis. “…we’re here to empower you in the decisions that you want to make for your care and connect you to the resources you need. We’re not here to make any decisions for you or force you to do anything you don’t want to do.”


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Moesha Aplicano Burnham
Moesha Aplicano Burnham

Moesha Aplicano Burnham was interning through Voces Internship of Idaho, and previously interned with Boise Weekly. In high school, Moesha was the Editor-in-Chief of the school's Newspaper, and has loved writing since she could pick up a pencil. She was born and raised in Boise, Idaho, and deeply enjoys learning and writing about local news. In her free time, Moesha enjoys hiking, listening to podcasts, and spending time with her cat.