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 Behavioral Health

Substance Use Disorder Prevention and Treatment

Health Leadership


Our Work in Behavioral Health

Behavioral Health Grantees

Glacier Community Health Center

Dental and Behavioral Health Integration

Project Term: 12 months; 2018-2019
Grant Amount: $49,729

To date, Glacier Community Health Center has successfully linked behavioral health with medical, providing bidirectional warm hand-offs of patients who need the alternate department’s services, and thus improving patient care and health outcomes. This project will focus on a similar integration between behavioral health and dental with the addition of medical, with the knowledge that dental, medical and behavioral health diagnoses are often linked, and common solutions can often be found. Funds for this project will be used for staff time to work through the needed policies, procedures, and workflow for the integration of dental and behavioral health services.

Friendship House of Christian Service

Transforming South Billings Youth and Families by Addressing Community Counseling Needs

Project Term: 12 months; 2018-2019
Grant Amount: $40,000

Through this grant, Friendship House will hire a counselor-in-training to provide behavioral health services to children and their families in south Billings. Through a previous Social Service Non-Profit Capacity Building Initiative grant from MHCF, Friendship House was able to bring on a licensed counselor and decrease the wait times for youth to see counselors from approximately 6-12 months to the day of need. Despite these positive changes, Friendship House has not yet met the full demand for counseling services. Through this project, a counselor-in-training will be hired to provide additional counseling services, and after completing the training requirements, this newly hired person will be able to bill for services which will result in a sustainable position at Friendship House.

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. 

2019 Call for Proposals

Find out about this year’s available grants.