Montana Public Radio

Mental Health

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As the COVID-19 pandemic tightens its grip, the services provided by Montana’s mental health and addiction clinics are getting even more complicated.

Those who survived the 2017 state budget cuts have hung on by their fingernails ever since. And it may get a lot more difficult.

Community leaders, health care providers and media got their first look at the overall health of Yellowstone County with the release of the latest health needs assessment on Feb. 10.  Mental health, substance abuse and obesity top the list.

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The Bullock administration Monday announced its plan to double the number of Montanans receiving community-based mental health care treatment over the next five years .

Some mental health care providers in the state are still stinging from nearly 3 year old state budget cuts.

Farming and ranching have always been considered risky. But more extreme weather events, low prices and uncertainty have led to higher rates of bankruptcy and suicide across the U.S. Recently 700 women ag producers gathered in locations across six western states to learn about ways to reduce stress on farms and ranches. 

Limited access to therapists, cost and stigma around mental health can make it difficult for rural Montanans to get the care they need. Now, Bozeman researchers are testing and adapting a new online program that’s been shown to side-step those barriers and reduce depression and anxiety for adults.

Corin Cates-Carney

Shodair Childrens’ Hospital plans to open a new outpatient mental-health clinic in Missoula early next year. Officials say it will help address a lack of mental health services in the area. 

According to Montana’s child protective services division, there are about 3,800 children in the state’s foster care system. State officials say a new federal program could reduce that number by, in part, treating behavioral health issues within families.

School hallway. Stock photo.
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Kalispell Public Schools will soon adopt a new mobile app allowing students to anonymously report tips about threats to a school, bullying and mental health issues to administrators and law enforcement.

Dennis Bane is a school resource officer at Flathead High School and with some help from students, he began testing incident reporting apps for the school district last year.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced it’s awarding four tribal governments in Montana a collective $2.9 million to improve public safety efforts.


Ten percent of Montana high school students say they’ve attempted suicide in the past year, according to a statewide survey released last month. The percentage of Montana highschoolers who report being depressed is at a 20 year high.

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