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Lessons from Lewis and Clark County’s “Behavioral Health Crisis System Analysis”

By August 27, 2021August 31st, 2021No Comments
Lewis and Clark County just released their “Behavioral Health Crisis System Analysis.” The report was written by Kristal Jones, Kate Salemo, and Brandn Green (JG Research & Evaluation) for Lewis and Clark County. Funding for this assessment was provided by the Addictive and Mental Disorders Division (AMDD) of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) through the COVID-19 Emergency relief grant program. The Montana Public Health Institute provided grant management and analytical support for the assessment.
The full report is attached below. It is really impressive and goes into a lot of depth about services offered in Lewis and Clark county.
A few of the key takeaways for other communities in Montana can be found on pages 44-45 of the report.
Based upon this analysis, it appears that counties with the population of Lewis and Clark county should have:
  • An inpatient hospital unit (or inpatient hospital units) that can help care for adult and youth with mental health and substance abuse conditions.
  • A crisis unit that can serve emergency detentions, voluntary detentions and longer crisis care.
  • A mobile crisis team.
  • A broad variety of mental health and substance abuse services.

These services are also necessary for communities with smaller populations, so ways must be explored and developed to offer this care regionally.

One of the clear issues that came up in this report is that the Journey Home crisis center “that closed in January 2020 played a clear role in the crisis
continuum, especially for individuals awaiting a decision about involuntary commitment.” (pg 44) This is an issue not only for Lewis and Clark County, but for communities across the state as this type of crisis care facilities have struggled to maintain funding.

This is one of the essential issues that the Children, Families, Health and Human Services Committee is working to analyze and potentially address as part of the SJR 14 and HJR 35 analyses of the mental health treatment system.

NAMI Montana is grateful to Lewis and Clark County and the Addictive and Mental Disorders Division for funding this valuable research.


Matt Kuntz

Executive Director

NAMI Montana