BOZEMAN — When we think about emergencies, we think 911 and the hospital. But what about a mental health crisis?
There’s a new resource in Bozeman that can help us change the way we treat mental health emergencies.
Behavioral Health experts in Gallatin County say the need for increased access to mental health services in the area is not new. But throw in a global pandemic, and a stay at home directive and the need becomes dire.
“We’ve seen anxiety, we’ve seen depression and unfortunately, as the sheriff reports, we’ve also seen a major uptick in suicides in Gallatin County. And we saw this as a second public health crisis,” said Maureen Womack, system director of behavioral health at Bozeman Health
The Help Center in Bozeman has offered a 2-1-1 crisis hotline for those experiencing a mental health emergency for years.
Now they’ve partnered up with Bozeman Health and the Western Montana Mental Health Center to create an urgent care for those needing immediate services.
“So urgent care allows us to rethink and reteach how we experience a mental health emergency and or just a daily mental health care,” said Michael Foust with the Western Montana Mental Health Center.
“We needed to find a way to make it easily accessible for people to get help, but we also didn’t want people in an emotional crisis going to the emergency department where there will be other people that are ill and they’re physically well,” said Womack.
Services include crisis interventions, psychiatric evaluations, medication management and on the spot counseling.
"Anybody can go. If you think it’s a crisis, then it’s a crisis and we are here to serve you. We will serve anybody regardless of their ability to pay. And that’s due to the generous contributions of the foundation and members of the community," said Womack.
People can show up, without an appointment to the Urgent Care Center if they are having a crisis, or they can get a referral from 2-1-1 Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“We believe urgent care allows people to access mental health care and health care needs on their schedule,” said Foust.
Initial funding for the program came from a number of different donors including the COVID-19 Compassion Fund.