Montana is home to big sky and beautiful land, mountains and rivers and destinations that draw millions of visitors annually. But amidst this beauty, Montana’s geography and low resident population present some challenges for mental and behavioral health, such as greater social isolation and fewer accessible resources or clinics. For this reason and others, Montana tragically has one of the highest suicide rates in the country. Children, Native American communities, and veterans are often the most impacted. These challenges mirror broader trends facing rural communities across our region and country that lack comparable healthcare access to urban and suburban counterparts.
However, there are a number of organizations that are working to reverse these statistics. They are reducing mental health stigma, providing accessible resources and counseling, and caring for those facing mental and behavioral health challenges. The Murdock Trust recognizes these important organizations and is proud to support them.
Here are a few nonprofits doing this life-saving work:
Suffer Out Loud in Bozeman is creating communities in which mental health struggles are discussed openly, honestly, and without judgment. They do this primarily through their Counseling Scholarship Program. This program covers the cost of counseling for individuals who cannot afford to pay for a licensed mental health professional. Suffer Out Loud also reaches its community through free workshops, art and animal therapy, sponsored events that promote education and awareness, and more.
With facilities across the state, Youth Dynamics provides family focused behavioral health treatment to Montana youth. In 2020, 21% of 7th-12th graders in Montana seriously considered suicide. 41% felt so sad or hopeless they stopped doing their usual activities. But after receiving personalized care from Youth Dynamics, 95% of served youth felt a positive effect in their lives. Through services such as youth case management, therapeutic foster care and group homes, outpatient therapy, and substance use treatment, Youth Dynamics is starting to change the statistics.
At its three Montana locations the Tamarack Grief Resource Center is helping individuals and families navigate grief and loss. The organization offers counseling, grief camps and retreats, school programs, support groups, urgent response support, and more, all grounded in research and based in the healing power of nature. For example, A Camp to Remember is a healing summer camp for youth who have experienced the death of a family member. It is a place to grieve, but also to celebrate life.
Meanwhile, Intermountain seeks “healing through healthy relationships.” It provides services for those who face emotional, mental, and behavioral health challenges, including mental illness and substance abuse. One such service is a 24-hour residential intensive treatment program serving children ages 4-13 who have experienced abuse, neglect, or other traumatic life disruptions. As a certified mental health provider with 25 locations across Montana, Intermountain offers children like these, as well as adolescents and families, a variety of in-patient, outpatient, multi-service, and multi-region solutions to what feel like insurmountable challenges.
It is an honor for the Trust to partner with each of these organizations and many others who are working to improve the mental health crisis, in Montana and throughout our entire region. Mental health care was important to our benefactor, Jack Murdock. We know he would have been proud to support the good, hard, critical work of these organizations.