Op-Ed by an anonymous Mental Health Professional practicing in Idaho.
Below is a letter written to some conservative legislators during this last session. It was written and given anonymously with the “ask” to read it into the record either during a committee hearing or during floor debate on House Bill 71. To our knowledge, that was never done. We are thrilled that HB71 will become law. But we are disappointed that our friendly legislators did not find this information compelling enough to share “on the record.”
As mental health professionals, we truly care about those we serve. We are having to weigh the cost of speaking out about the societal and political issues of the day that are greatly impacting society and especially the youth. We would like it to be recorded SOMEWHERE that we are concerned about the real potential of our licensing boards being weaponized against us.
We are equally concerned with the use of taxpayer dollars being used to fund “continuing education” for mental health professionals that is nothing more than misinformation, focused on so-called affirming care. The mental health profession has been hijacked by harmful ideologies and we are paying for it, dearly. Both in monetary and societal terms.
Below is the letter we wanted shared with the legislature.
I am writing in support of House Bill 71 and am asking you give it a “do pass” recommendation.
I am a mental health professional and have been in communication with 10 other mental health professionals around the state who are in support of this bill. I’m sure there are many more of us who support adding House Bill 71 to Idaho law. We are afraid of going public with our support; we feel our public stance would be weaponized against us, putting our licenses, our livelihoods, and our families in jeopardy should we speak publicly about this bill or others dealing with this subject matter. Yet we feel compelled to do whatever we can to protect vulnerable and confused children from the permanent mental and physical harm caused by what is often referred to as “affirming care.”
We have seen what happened to Dr. Cole and Dr. McCullough when they spoke out with different opinions on Covid-related matters, and we know the same kind of hateful backlash would very likely happen to us too. We are deeply saddened that our profession, as well as the medical profession, seem to have been hijacked by a politically correct narrative, rather than staying grounded in logic, reason, science, and common sense. It is our great desire to continue helping those who are suffering. Complaints to our licensing boards or harassment and threats from angry activists will cause untold amounts of stress, financial loss, hikes in insurance rates, risk of licensure loss, and lost time actually helping those in need. This fear of vitriolic hate and the weaponization of our licensing boards keeps us in the closet.
You should also know that the state seems to be subsidizing continuing education opportunities- training professionals on the matter of so-called “affirming care” for children through the state’s contract with Optum. We are told that without “affirming care” children will be at high risk of suicide, and as far as I can tell, this training is being funded by the state of Idaho. This narrative is then passed on to parents who seek help for their confused and suffering children, forcing them into a no-win situation. So, while this bill is a great start at protecting children, I think the legislature needs to do much more to protect children and families from this ideology.
At a minimum, HB71 needs to pass and state funding for professional development and training that encourages “affirming care” needs to be stopped. I recommend the legislature commission a group to study the influences of professional associations, credentialing organizations, educational institutions, and state licensing boards to get at the root of this extremist push for sexualizing and confusing our young children.
Thank you for your time and your service to our state,
A concerned mental health professional