Dennis Sulser, Youth Dynamics
What is your name and the name of the organization you represent?
Dennis Sulser, Youth Dynamics, Inc.
Where can we find your website?
Where in Montana are you located?
Several locations. 20 community offices and 10 group homes, Great Falls, Helena, Billings, Boulder, Wolf Point, Malta, Glasgow, Havre, Shelby, Glendive, Miles City, Missoula, Butte, Bozeman, Kalispell, Polson, Dillon, Glendive, Deer Lodge, and Lewistown. We are providing services in 46 of Montana’s 56 counties.
Tell us a bit about your organization, and the sort of work it does?
We currently employ 275 full time and another 175 part-time children’s mental and behavioral healthcare workers. We began in 1981 as a Volunteers of America organization supporting 9 children in Therapeutic Foster Care. We now offer Therapeutic Group Home Care, Therapy, Family and Home support services, Case Management, Therapeutic Foster Care, Community Based Psychiatric Rehabilitation Support, aka mentoring, licensed addiction counseling, parenting education, and therapy for highly sexualized children.
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?
Constant challenges satisfying the needs of children with a shortage of qualified workforce. Case loads and the demands for services are overwhelming for us and our partners in children’s behavioral services. Consistently delivering a quality trauma-informed treatment by providers that are continually fighting secondary trauma. Keeping all the children well and breaking the generational familial trauma challenges. The suicide rate among teens in Montana is one of the highest in the country. How are we going to change that demographic and deal with the hopelessness of our children?
Tell us about some of your accomplishments, and what you are most proud of as an organization?
While children at YDI are receiving Youth Case Management services they are advancing grade-level at 97%. We are proud of that success and know that those receiving case management services are also receiving additional services averaging 2.5 to 3.0 services per child. Wrap around services is a key to success, growth and change for our children.
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?
Most recently we have produced testimonial stories from our clients. The below is a link to one of our videos that exemplify the work of our agency and the successes.
What are some pros and cons to working in behavioral health in Montana?
We have the greatest staff with the biggest and most caring hearts. We are lucky to work in a culture and a state that truly has the children in the forefront of our future.
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?
Our teens are extremely vulnerable. The suicide ideation and attempted suicide rate is at astronomical, unheard of rates. I would rid our teenagers of their feeling of hopelessness immediately and change their hearts, if I could with a snap of my fingers. Unfortunately it is not that easy and we are fighting an uphill battle. The good news is that we are still in the fight. We Montana care givers are a resilient bunch and will keep on fighting for the sake of the kids.
If you had to give a shout out to another BHAM organization for doing exceptional work, what org would it be? Why?
They all are doing fantastic work across the state. Our partners in children’s mental health are champions in their own right. Not an easy job, but we are called to the task in supporting our greatest asset, the children of Montana.
Any other shout-outs or kudos for Montana’s behavioral health heroes?
We have great leaders and people with passionate hearts for doing good by all people across our Montana Communities. I am thankful for our peers and colleagues in well-being for people.
What else would you like the world to know about your organization?
Check out our web site and social media connections.
Youth Dynamics of Montana (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/ydimt/
People of Youth Dynamics (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/PeopleofYDI/
youthdynamicsmt (Instagram): https://www.instagram.com/youthdynamicsmt/
youthdynamicsmt (Twitter): https://twitter.com/youthdynamicsmt
Youth Dynamics of Montana (Linkedin): https://www.linkedin.com/company/youth-dynamics-of-montana/
Youth Dynamics of Montana (Pinterest): https://www.pinterest.com/youthdynamicsof/