April 2022 Update from BHAM

Remember last month when I wrote (and warned you all!) about “Fake Spring?” Well, as I type these words from an undisclosed basement location in Missoula, MT, there is new snow on the ground outside, and my phone keeps telling me to be aware of possible 50 mph winds and dangerous driving conditions. Am I worried? Heck no! I’ve lived in Montana long enough to know that when the umbrella on my patio blows to Livingston (or Helena or Sidney for that matter) during a freak storm, it’s just a sign that I need to take a road trip to retrieve it.

On that note, enjoy our latest monthly update!

Children Out-of-State Taskforce:

Due to the dire workforce shortage in hiring behavioral healthcare workers, many agencies have closed homes and are unable to staff available beds for kids requiring psychiatric therapeutic residential treatment or therapeutic group home care. BHAM has begun a Children’s Out-of-State Taskforce and is meeting with Children and Family Services Division and DPHHS to try and come up with solutions to this difficult problem. BHAM has submitted a suggestion to try and keep kids in-state. DPHHS is vetting the suggestion to see if it will work.

Crisis at Montana State Hospital:

Due to the 2017-2018 budget cuts to community-based mental health and substance use disorder treatment, more people were sent to acute settings such as the Montana State Hospital and when the pandemic hit, the workforce became even more limited. The behavioral health system needs to be sufficiently funded as a continuum just as medical healthcare is funded. Until that time, the state and legislature will move from crisis to crisis as has happened in the past year first for CSCT and now the MSH.

Provider Rate Study:

DPHHS is working with Guidehouse to complete the study for behavioral health providers funded by the 2021 Legislature. It is a comprehensive survey that looks at actual costs of providing care as well as reimbursement for individual programs. Guidehouse hopes to have completed their work on behavioral health by summer 2022 so that DPHHS can make recommendations to the 2023 Legislature.

Ken Burns Series on Youth with Mental Illness:

Renowned filmmaker Ken Burns is the executive producer of a major new public television documentary, Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness. The film, premiering June, 27 & 28 9/8c on PBS, gives voice to the experiences of young people who suffer from mental health challenges and focuses on the importance of awareness and empathy. Watch the trailer below, and also bookmark the Well Beings website to learn more.


Learn more about new scholarships available to students interested in pursuing social work in Montana. Save the flyer below, or click on it to learn more about Carroll College’s MSW opportunities.

Please reach out to me if there is anything you need. When we work together, we can solve all the problems out there!

Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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