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

Women in Action

Identifying and Addressing Gaps in Big Sky’s Mental Health Services

Project Term: 24 months; 2018-2020
Grant Amount: $14,760

This grant will support initial steps to strengthen behavioral health and address gaps in Big Sky’s behavioral health resources. Women in Action will work with the Yellowstone Club Community Foundation to bring together stakeholders including Big Sky Medical Center, mental health and substance use providers, the Help Center, the Big Sky school district, and Haven, to catalog existing resources and create innovative solutions to Big Sky’s unique behavioral health demands. Funds will be used to support a partial FTE to help initiate the planning, coalition building, and develop a strategic plan for the community.

Boys and Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County

Joint-Service Behavioral Health Model Pilot for the Lockwood Clubhouse

Project Term: 12 months; 2018-2019
Grant Amount: $50,000

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County will partner with Billings-based organizations, Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch and Tumbleweed, to provide behavioral health services to the youth who participate in the Boys and Girls Club activities in Lockwood. While this is planning a grant, services for the youth will begin to be provided and sustainability will be determined through planning and evaluation of billing for services provided. The intent of the project is to provide long-term behavioral health services to youth living in Lockwood, a community with few behavioral health services. Grant funds will be used to cover start-up salary costs for program staff while billing for services is being established. Key partnerships include the Boys and Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County, the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch, and Tumbleweed.

Bozeman Health Foundation

Behavioral Health Symposium, Work Groups, and Summit

Project Term: 12 months; 2017-2018
Grant Amount: $25,000

For this project, Bozeman Health will partner with leaders from the Gallatin City-County Health Department, the mental health Local Advisory Committee, Gallatin Mental Health Center, United Way of Gallatin County, and MSU’s Student Health Services to host a behavioral health planning symposium in the fall of 2017, working groups through the winter, and a behavioral health summit in the spring of 2018. Outcomes for this project include producing a plan for enhanced and better coordinated behavioral health programs for Southwest Montana that is developed and endorsed by multiple stakeholder organizations and the immediate implementation of plan elements as they are identified. 

MSU - Department of Health and Human Development

Increasing Mental Health Access in Gallatin County

Project Term: 24 months; 2018-2020
Grant Amount: $69,395

MSU’s Graduate Counseling Program faculty, Dr. Anna Elliott, and Dr. Rebecca Koltz will partner with the Gallatin City-County Health Department (GCCHD) to develop an integrative system to provide mental health services to low-income Gallatin County residents. First, participants in the GCCHD home visiting program will be offered mental health service access through the Human Development Clinic (HDC), a community mental health agency, affiliated with MSU’s Counseling Program. To attend to logistical barriers that prevent low-income residents from seeking out counseling services, the HDC will offer transportation and child programming on site. The second portion of this collaboration will involve the hiring of post-graduate, pre-licensure counselors who are able to see clients with higher acuity and are insured by Medicaid. In addition to serving a demographic of Gallatin County, who face multiple barriers in trying to receive mental health services, this collaboration will also create an opportunity to train new counselors to work with high-need populations, preparing them to provide quality mental health service to a diverse and challenging array of clients upon graduation.

Bighorn Valley Health Center

Integrated Health Care Delivery through a Hub and Spoke Model

Project Term: 24 months; 2017-2019
Grant Amount: $150,000

This project will expand substance use disorder care with medication-assisted treatment to two towns in Southeastern Montana, and build curriculum to pilot a certification-granting program to train behavioral health care managers. Grant funds will be used to hire two behavioral health care managers for new sites in Ashland and Miles City, and a social worker who will work on curriculum development with the Chief Dull Knife College in Lame Deer.

2018 Call for Proposals

Find out about this year’s available grants.