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

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.

Crisis Intervention Training Montana

A Statewide Crisis Intervention Team Training Collaborative

Project Term: 18 months; 2017-2019
Grant Amount: $100,000

Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) Montana is an umbrella organization that coordinates CIT training and development statewide. CIT programs are local initiatives built on strong partnerships between law enforcement, mental health providers, substance use providers, medical providers, social service providers, and individuals and families affected by behavioral health challenges. CIT attempts to divert individuals with behavioral health needs from the Montana state hospital, criminal justice system, and local hospitals. CIT Montana leads the effort for the education and training of emergency responders across Montana. The overarching goal of CIT is to increase the skill level of law enforcement, first responders, and behavioral health professionals when responding to persons with behavioral health needs who may encounter the criminal justice system. CIT Montana is seeking funding for administrative support for the CIT executive director, creation of a framework for data collection and evaluation, and creation of a business and sustainability plan.

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.

Livingston HealthCare Foundation

Behavioral Health Crisis Management

Project Term: 24 months; 2017-2019
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 yearly improvement in behavioral health care quality indices, declining suicide rate, declining rate of substance abuse in Park County and surrounding rural communities, and reduced rate of incarceration for behavioral health issues.

2018 Call for Proposals

Find out about this year’s available grants.