Craig Aasved, Shodair
What is your name and the name of the organization you represent?
My name is Craig Aasved. I am with Shodair Children’s Hospital.
Where can we find your website?
Where in Montana are you located?
Our main campus is in Helena, Montana’s capitol city, but Shodair serves the entire state with patients from 52 out of 56 counties and outpatient clinic offices in Bozeman, Butte, Helena and Missoula.
Tell us a bit about your organization, and the sort of work it does?
Shodair began 126 years ago as an orphanage and later a polio hospital. It’s mission as a non-profit to serve Montana’s most vulnerable has remained since the begining as 99 percent of patients are from here and nearly three-quarters on medicaid. Today, Shodair is an inpatient acute and residential psychiatric hospital for children and adolescents, as well as the home to Montana’s Medical Genetics Program serving people of all ages.
Doing the kind of work you do can be both rewarding and challenging. What are some of the biggest ongoing challenges your organization faces as it works to accomplish its goals?
Today’s challenges are much like those faced by similar organizations across the nation: staffing. Shodair always has a waiting list of patients needing services. Part of that is because of low staffing, and the rest is needing different space, which we are addressing currently by building a replacement hospital that will be safer and more flexible allowing us to serve more kids. And, lastly, getting legislators to understand the crisis we are in.
Tell us about some of your accomplishments, and what you are most proud of as an organization?
In 2019, Shodair was named the Helena Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year. We are a certified in trauma informed care. Through the pandemic, we remained open without layoffs, started a nursing residency program, and have increased access to mental health services through the state.
Respecting the privacy of any individual(s), can you relay to us a story (or two or three!) about a time or situation that had a personal, positive impact on you in the course of doing your job?
Each year, we selected a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital Champion to serve as an ambassador (Shodair is the only CMN Hospital in the state). This year’s champion is Dakotah Hurley and you can watch his video about his journey dealing with suicidal ideations by clicking the photo below, or here.
What are some pros and cons to working in behavioral health in Montana?
Such a complicated question but maybe the simpliest answer is that it never easy to see children and their families desperate for help and literally kids wanting to die. The up-side is that every single day, we witness children find hope and healing. They change and begin find love for themselves and the world around them right before our eyes. We literally save lives by changing hearts and minds.
Thinking of the population you serve, and the areas of behavioral health you are most involved with, if you could snap your fingers to make one change, what would it be?
That medicaid would fully fund the services our patients need.
If you had to give a shout out to another BHAM organization for doing exceptional work, what org would it be? Why?
AWARE, YGBR, and Intermountain because they have been collaborators on taking care of patients and together we do what is in their best interest.
Any other shout-outs or kudos for Montana’s behavioral health heroes?
Parents of children who struggle with mental health issues trying to help their children in any way possible.
What else would you like the world to know about your organization?
We are a mission-driven organization and that mission is: To heal, help, and inspire hope.