Half a dozen health care systems in Montana are sharing more than $700,000 in grants to make mental or behavioral health care easier to get.
The Montana Healthcare Foundation says it's making the grants to support better healthcare for people who have a combination of medical problems and mental illness and/or addiction. It plans to award more than $3 million to the initiative over the next two years.
A Foundation press release says, "Hospitals and communities throughout Montana rank drug and alcohol addiction and mental illness as their most challenging health issues, but services can be hard to find and difficult to access."
Grantees include the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Health Department. Benefis Hospital in Great Falls and a school-based health center serving students in Columbia Falls and Whitefish.
Mental illness can make management of chronic health conditions like diabetes or heart disease more difficult, and the Foundation says, “people struggling with common problems like depression or addiction often die far too early.”
In the U.S., a majority of mental health medications are already dispensed by primary care practices, most of which don’t have behavioral health specialists on staff.