CARE Coalition Champions Behavioral Health
Health & Medicine
January 19, 2022
Data gathered from our state and nation continues to show that 1 in 5 persons deal with behavior health problems that interfere with a normal functioning life. This data means that about 1,500 citizens in Valley County have or are dealing with the presence of such problems, either directly or with a family member. The 2021 Montana School Risk Survey results show that nearly 42% of high school students reported having had times of depression in the last year – i.e., two weeks of noticeable interference with normal routine because of sadness or hopelessness. Many other studies give similar statistics about behavioral health, the term now used to include mental health and substance abuse. How might we address the problems and increase Behavioral Health Wellness in our community, state, and nation?
First, let's help remove stigma. It is customary to seek professional help for a broken arm, or cancer, or severe pain but for too many people, there is a stigma attached in seeking help for behavior health problems that cause normal life to be interrupted. There is significant value in having a similar mindset about behavioral health that we do for physical health. If you have a health problem, whether physical or behavioral...SEEK HELP! Behavioral health problems can be prevented, solved, and controlled. A first positive step is to help remove the stigma and encourage people to seek help.
Valley County CARE Coalition is a local organization concerned with increasing Behavioral Health Wellness and Awareness. One goal is to help remove the stigma. The CARE Coalition is trying to prevent behavior problems from disrupting normal functioning life. The major stakeholders include Valley County Health Department, Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital, Eastern Montana Community Mental Health Center, Glasgow Police Department, and Valley County Commissioners, but everyone in our community is invited to be a part of the Behavioral Health Wellness efforts. Projects include Mental Health First Aid trainings, Question Persuade Refer (QPR) trainings, promoting use of 988 – National Suicide Prevention Hotline, Mental Health Walks, supporting PAX Good Behavior Games in schools, and providing resources in our area (all available for free at http://www.valleycarecoalition.com. We would love to have the community join us in specific projects that they're passionate about as well.
More and more often we see and her in the media people taking the attitude that, "It's okay to not be okay," and then advising to seek help. There is optimism that this stigma is decreasing, but there is a need to increase that feeling in Valley County. A helpful website on how to talk to persons who may not feel okay is http://www.seizetheawkward.org.
Montana communities are always helping during disaster situations like the recent train derailment in Chester or recovery from natural disasters. The Valley CARE Coalition would like to see that same desire to become part of our behavioral health projects, even if that help can only be a single project each year. Improving behavioral health wellness makes for more satisfactory personal and family lives, can reduce suicides, prevent crime, improve the economy, and more. If you would like to become part of our CARE Coalition effort, or stay updated on our current projects, subscribe to our monthly email list by emailing [email protected], follow us on Facebook @ValleyCARECoalition or visit our website at http://www.valleycarecoalition.com to see what we're doing! If you know someone who feels depressed or hopeless, please visit with them or encourage them to call 988 (staffed 24/7) for free help!