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AdvocacyNAMI Montana Fundraiser

Montana NAMIWalk and Mental Health Workforce Shortage

By August 4, 2021No Comments

The Mary McCue Montana NAMIWalk Kick Off Lunch is Next Thursday!

The Montana NAMIWalk Committe is hosting the Mary McCue Montana NAMIWalk Kick Off luncheon on Thursday August 12th at 12:00-1:00pm in the basement of St. Mary’s Church (1700 Missoula Ave, Helena, MT 59601).
This is a great opportunity to learn more about NAMI Montana’s work to support, educate and advocate for Montanans who live with mental illness and their families. The featured speaker will be Dr. Cory Sonnemann MD.
Dr. Sonnemann grew up in Billings, Montana. He left the state for medical school and residency and is now practicing as a psychiatrist at Southwest Community Health Center, and at Montana State Prison. Dr. Sonneman is leading the charge to establish NAMI Southwest Montana (Butte, Anaconda, Dillon, etc.) to serve those communities.
Dr. Sonnemann’s view of our mental health system is both powerful, heartbreaking, and fascinating from a health policy standpoint. We’d love to have you join us for pizza and his presentation.
Sign up your team before the luncheon to be eligible for the online team captain drawing.
You can sign up or donate at

Mental Health Workforce Challenges

The Behavioral Alliance of Montana has been shining a light on the critical workforce challenges faced by mental health and substance abuse providers in our state.
NAMI Montana has been advocating since the Legislature for the State of Montana to use funding allocated in Section 2501 of the American Rescue Plan Act (Funding for the Public Health Workforce) to support Montana’s mental health and substance abuse providers. These talks are ongoing. Please contact Governor Gianforte and asked him to use the ARPA funds to support our mental health treatment system. You can call his office at 406-444-3111 or contact them through this link –
We also worked with Senator Walt Sales to create an Interim Legislative Study to analyze Montana’s mental health treatment system and address critical funding gaps, because the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated issues that had been festering for years in how the state funds outpatient, crisis, and inpatient services.
We will update you as this essential committee moves forward with their work in the year ahead.

Workforce shortage wreaks havoc on Montana’s behavioral health providers

Holly Michels for the Helena Independent Record
August 1, 2021
A severe workforce shortage for behavioral health and developmental disabilities service providers has left some organizations with vacant positions in 20-50% of their jobs, leading to reductions of critical services they say could be just the tip of the iceberg if state government doesn’t step in.
“The system’s hanging on by a shoestring right now,” said Matt Bugni, the chief executive officer of AWARE, Inc., an Anaconda-based organization that provides services statewide for children and adults with developmental disabilities and behavioral health needs.
Montanans are well-versed in the fallout from COVID-19 and how the workforce crunch has led to help wanted signs in windows of businesses across the state and shops closing early because there aren’t enough employees to keep the doors open. Less in the spotlight is the how the staffing crisis hit organizations that care for people with behavioral health needs and developmental disabilities.
Read the full article here.