Montana Public Radio

Mental Health

Fireline Episode 05: Burnout

Apr 6, 2021
Fireline Episode 05: Burnout
Jessy Stevenson

There are more than 30,000 people who fight wildfires in the U.S., and about 400 firefighters have died on the job over the last two decades. As fire seasons get longer and fires become more devastating, the physical and mental toll on firefighters themselves is also growing. Learn more now on Fireline Episode 05: Burnout.

The Senate veterans' affairs committee got an early progress report this week on a newly established program. Created by a new law, the program aims to help veterans struggling with their mental health.

A new coalition in Big Sky is gearing up to expand behavioral health services, reduce stigma around mental health and addiction, and help people navigate their options for care.

Ciara Wolfe, Vice President of Philanthropy for the Yellowstone Club Community Foundation, said people in Big Sky knew there was a growing behavioral health problem in the community, but a report released last year “highlighted that our community is really in crisis around this. We have significant needs and very under-resourced services to be able to address those needs.”

As Demand for Mental Health Care Spikes, Budget Ax Set to Strike

Feb 9, 2021

HELENA, Mont. — When the pandemic hit, health officials in Montana’s Beaverhead County had barely begun to fill a hole left by the 2017 closure of the local public assistance office, mental health clinic, chemical dependency center and job placement office after the state’s last budget shortfall.

Mental health services.
Flickr user Publik15 (CC-BY-SA)

Demand for mental health care has been rising through the coronavirus pandemic after months of job loss, climbing death rates and loneliness. Now, despite dwindling funds and technical difficulties, Montana mental health providers are using unusual strategies to reach isolated patients.



A new mental health crisis hotline is now available to Montanans struggling with the ongoing emotional impacts of the global pandemic.

The Montana Crisis Recovery Hotline funded by a $1.6 million federal grant program is open to all Montanans but specifically targeted at Native Americans, students, health care workers and residents of communities hit hardest by COVID-19.


Nine million dollars in federal grants coming into Montana is aimed at bolstering mental health services for students and their families. The grant announcement Monday comes as schools are beginning to understand how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting students’ mental health.

St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula.
Courtesy St. Patrick Hospital

Intensive psychiatric services for youth in Missoula are scarce but Providence St. Patrick Hospital’s just expanded that capacity. The brand new 14-bed Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatric Unit serves patients, ages 12 to 17, who are experiencing significant mental health crises.

Montana will receive a federal grant to establish COVID-19 crisis counseling services. The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Wednesday that it has approved crisis counseling assistance for Montanans struggling to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

Montana Air National Guard planes.
UNK - Montana Air National Guard

A U.S. Department of Defense report says the National Guard’s suicide rate is higher than its active duty and Reserve counterparts. DoD says there are several suicide risk factors in the military, including a cultural stigma surrounding psychological health care.

The Montana Air National Guard is testing out one of 23 pilot programs in the nation aimed at getting care to soldiers in new ways. MTPR’s Edward O’Brien introduces us to a career Montana military officer who, during one of her life’s darkest chapters, reached out for help and was thrown a lifeline.