Addressing mental illness and substance use disorders in Montana.

Mental illness and substance use disorders are common, serious problems in Montana. Behavioral health is a term that is commonly used to describe this spectrum of illnesses and the fields of healthcare that address them. In surveys of health needs carried out by Montana’s local health departments and hospitals, these issues rank as the most important health challenges in many Montana communities. Among Montana youth, more than 29% report symptoms consistent with depression, and 23.5% of high school students report binge drinking within the past month. A recent national survey examined the prevalence of behavioral health problems and corresponding access, or lack thereof, to services for treatment in each U.S. state: Montana ranked 44th worst overall and 49th for youth. A serious shortage of treatment for Montanans struggling with behavioral health disorders complicates the problem. In 2016, only 25% of Montana’s mental health professional needs were met, placing us in the bottom five of all states; 10 Montana counties had no state-approved substance use treatment program; and, Montana’s substance use treatment system met only roughly one third of the estimated need for medication-assisted therapy.

Funding Opportunities

We are currently accepting two types of grant proposals: competitive grants submitted under the 2018 Call for Proposals and invited grants submitted under our specific Behavioral Health Initiatives, which include:

Integrated Behavioral

Perinatal Drug and Alcohol Use

Substance Use Disorder Prevention and Treatment

Health Leadership


Our Work in Behavioral Health

Behavioral Health Grantees

Livingston Healthcare Foundation

Behavioral Health Crisis Management

Project Term: 24 months; Dec 2017 – Nov 2019
Grant Amount: $75,000

This grant will enable Livingston HealthCare to develop a comprehensive primary-care-based behavioral health care system across its inpatient and outpatient services; and foster community-wide integration through partnerships with Community Health Partners, Western Montana Community Mental Health Center, and local law enforcement. The project seeks to improve the continuity of care and patient outcomes through facilitating a coordinated transition for people in behavioral health crisis from emergency departments or inpatient services to stable, outpatient care. To accomplish this, the project will add a licensed clinical social worker to serve the emergency department and inpatient units. Desired outcomes include 1) yearly improvement in behavioral health care quality indices, 2) declining suicide rate, 3) declining rate of substance abuse in Park County and surrounding rural communities, and 4) reduced rate of incarceration for behavioral health issues.

Gateway Recovery Services

Peer Support for Substance Abuse

Project Term: 18 months; Dec 2017 – May 2019
Grant Amount: $75,000

This project will implement peer support for substance abuse in Gateway and Cascade counties. Implementation will take place over three phases: 1) Providing peer support for clients who have been placed on a waiting list for an evaluation by a licensed addiction counselor. 2) Use of the peer support program to improve show-rates for current clients in order to increase their chances of successfully completing treatment. 3) Making peer support available to law enforcement and local emergency rooms. Studies have shown that peer supporters can reduce the number of law enforcement and emergency room contacts with targeted patients and improve attendance at treatment and treatment outcomes. The intent of this project is for peer supporters to reach people in home and community settings, quickly build rapport and help motivate individuals with substance use disorders to enter and remain engaged in care.

Child Bridge

Finding a Way Home Project

Project Term: 18 months; Dec 2017 – May 2019
Grant Amount: $75,000

To improve the placement outcomes and increase permanency for children who are in state custody because parental rights have been permanently revoked, the State of Montana Department of Child and Family Services established a memorandum of understanding with Child Bridge in July of 2017. This contract outlined a program entitled “Finding a Way Home” to allow Child Bridge to work in partnership with the state to achieve permanency for Montana children. While state social workers focus on permanency, it is often difficult to achieve due to factors including length of time in care, number of previous placements, age, and trauma-related behavior. The Finding a Way Home Project will utilize Child Bridge’s extensive database and network across Montana to recruit families for children who have experienced trauma and are in the permanent legal custody of the state.

Providence MT Health Foundation

Bridge to Hope Project

Project Term: 12 months; Dec 2017 – Nov 2018
Grant Amount: $42,600

This project will provide support for mothers whose newborns are experiencing Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) on the Flathead Reservation. The project builds on a previous MHCF’s grant that helped create the Wrapped in Hope Project which addressed perinatal drug use in the region, and will now extend care to families after delivery. This project is designed to 1) reduce the rate of maternal-infant separation in the hospital setting as a result of NAS treatment; 2) engage addicted mothers in the care of their infant through support group sessions, and 3) increase addicted mothers’ voluntary participation in area drug treatment programs by the time of their infants’ discharge. An ongoing series of 10 maternal support group sessions will be conducted by a licensed addiction counselor in partnership with a pediatrician and nursing staff while the newborns are hospitalized for NAS treatment, and mothers will receive materials and modeling related to the holistic care of their infants aimed at facilitating mother-infant bonding. The project will be conducted in partnership with the CSKT Tribal Government and Wrapped in Hope staff at St. Joseph Medical Center.

Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch

Substance Use Disorder Treatment Program

Project Term: 24 months; Dec 2017 – Nov 2019
Grant Amount: $75,000

This project will allow the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch to expand their substance use disorder services; and will support their application to the State of Montana Chemical Dependency Bureau for substance use disorder treatment licensure. Once they receive their state license, the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch will be able to expand their services to additional counties and enhance their partnerships in each region. The project’s goal is to hire three additional licensed addictions counselors to provide outpatient and intensive outpatient services, and school-based services to meet the needs of communities served by Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch.

2018 Call for Proposals

Find out about this year’s available grants.