Community Mental Health Service
Montana’s struggling mental health care system may finally be getting much-needed attention.
For the first time since 1996, adolescents with mental health issues — and their families — will have access to counseling and psychiatric services through the Billings-based community mental health center.
The state may be able to more effectively serve individuals who have similar treatment needs if it reviews and reconfigures its system of public institutions.
Happy New Year greetings ring true at the Mental Health Center that serves Yellowstone and 10 neighboring counties.
If Yellowstone County residents were admitted to Montana State Hospital at the same rate as the rest of the state, the psychiatric hospital would have seen dozens more patients last year.
Fifty years ago this month, President John F. Kennedy signed the Community Mental Health Act, a law that has helped millions of Americans leave or avoid confinement in state mental institutions.
Deep cuts are being made to mental-health services for the poor in south-central Montana in response to declining state and federal support.
For the past several months, The Billings Gazette has reported “State of Despair,” an in-depth series on suicide in Montana. Reporter Cindy Uken has told the stories of Montanans who have lost loved ones to suicide, and Montanans who are working to prevent this leading cause of death in our state.
One in four Americans is affected by mental illness every year, yet only a small percentage receive treatment, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Access to mental health care is limited in Malta and the surrounding rural area, mirroring the mental health picture across the state.