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While much attention is being paid to our state’s physical infrastructure, so, too, are basic community-based mental health services crumbling beneath our feet.

Western Montana Mental Health Center cares for 15,000 Montanans and employs 900 folks, ranging from Libby to Livingston. Please remind policy makers that further disruption of mental health and substance disorders programs will only further exacerbate an exploding foster care system, further overburden jails, and leave desperate citizens to choose to give up the struggle and end their own lives.

WMMHC wants to be a good partner with the state of Montana but our organization is struggling to meet its mission: to provide comprehensive behavioral health services to individuals and families in our communities. Recognizing the current state of Montana’s budgetary challenges, we beg policy makers to make informed decisions and work with us around the following:

-- Bolstering the very bedrock of mental health services, prescribers and ancillary services.

-- Finding solutions to safe, stable housing, thereby decreasing lengths of stay in acute settings.

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-- Supporting CIT (crisis intervention training) for law enforcement officers.

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-- Ensuring that officers have access to crisis stabilization after they have intervened.

-- Supporting peer certification. Hiring people with “lived experience” greatly assist others to move towards path of recovery.

-- Supporting substance disorder treatment for individuals and families who are struggling.

-- Jodi Daly, CEO, Western Montana Mental Health Center, Missoula

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