State’s Behavioral Health Challenges

Mental illness and Substance Use Disorders (SUD) common in the U.S rank as the most important health challenge found in many Montana communities. In 2017, the Montana Healthcare Foundation (MHCF) has plans to focus on American Indian Health, on Substance Use Disorders (SUD), integrating behavioral health, and developing partnerships for better health.

A serious shortage of treatment possibilities make it difficult for people in the state struggling with behavioral health disorders to find the treatment that they need. Ten Montana counties have no state approved substance use treatment programs which makes it very difficult to treat people with mental illness and SUDs. It is also difficult to care for people with mental disorders that also have chronic medical illnesses.

To add to the problem, Montana has the nation’s second highest per capita population of veterans where many veterans are at high-risk for traumatic brain injuries, PTSD, suicide, and other behavioral health issues.

MHCF has several grant programs. One is called the “Rapid Response Grant” program which offers grants between $10,000 and $75,000 for two year projects implemented within 12 to 24 months. This grant program supports proposals focused on planning, training, and smaller scale pilot projects.

The other grant program called the “Large Grant” program offers grants above $75,000 and up to $150,000 for projects implemented within a 12-24 month period. The minimum request is $50,000, maximum request $75,000 and $150,000 for a two year project.

MHCF in January 2017 issued a Call for Proposal (CFP) to fund projects that must be completed during a period of 12 to 24 months. MHCF is considering proposals in specific areas within their grant programs. One of the programs to help integrate behavioral health into the community is titled the “Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH) Initiative”.

The funding for the “Integrated Behavioral Health Initiative” (IBH) will be used to help plan, enhance, develop, and implement an integrated behavioral healthcare system. The hope is to achieve this goal by improving community resources but also work to increase collaboration among primary care clinics, behavioral health providers, hospitals, and schools by providing high quality and evidence-based care coordination.

MCHF’s Behavioral Health Initiative will also emphasize the need for an integrated team-based approach to employ evidence-based treatments, coordinate care, monitor the patient progress, and lastly, track outcomes.

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