Data collected from our state and our nation continues to show that one in five people face behavioral health issues that interfere with normal living. This data means that approximately 1,500 Valley County citizens have or are dealing with the presence of such issues, either directly or with a family member. Results from the 2021 Montana School Risk Survey show that nearly 42% of high school students reported having had periods of depression in the past year, that is, two weeks of schooling. noticeable interference with normal routine due to sadness or despair. Many other studies give similar statistics on behavioral health, the term now used to include mental health and addiction. How might we address behavioral health issues and improve wellness in our community, state, and nation?
First, let’s help eliminate the stigma. Seeking professional help for a broken arm, cancer or severe pain is common, but for too many people there is a stigma attached to seeking help for life-ending behavioral health issues. normal. It is important to have a mindset similar to the one we adopt for physical health when it comes to behavioral health. If you have a health problem, whether physical or behavioral… SEEK HELP! Behavioral health problems can be prevented, solved and controlled. A positive first step is to help eliminate stigma and encourage people to seek help.
Valley County CARE Coalition is a grassroots organization dedicated to increasing wellness and behavioral health awareness. One of the goals is to help eliminate stigma. The CARE Coalition tries to prevent behavior problems from disrupting the normal functioning of life. Key stakeholders include Valley County Health Department, Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital, Community Mental Health Center of Eastern Montana, Glasgow Police Department and Valley County Commissioners, but all members of our community are encouraged to participate in behavioral health wellness efforts. Projects include mental health first aid trainings, Question Persuade Refer (QPR) trainings, promoting the use of 988 – National Suicide Prevention Hotline, walks for mental health, supporting PAX Good Behavior games in schools and providing resources in our area (all available for free at http://www.valleycarecoalition.com We would like the community to join us in specific projects that they are also passionate about.
More and more often, we see her in the media adopting the attitude: “It’s okay not to be well”, and then advising to seek help. There is optimism that this stigma will diminish, but there is a need to increase this feeling in Valley County. A useful website on how to talk to people who are not feeling well is http://www.seizetheawkward.org.
Montana communities always help in disaster situations like the recent train derailment in Chester or recovery from a natural disaster. The Valley CARE Coalition would like to see that same desire to be part of our behavioral health projects, even though that help may only be one project each year. Improving behavioral health wellness makes personal and family life more satisfying, can reduce suicides, prevent crime, improve the economy, and more. If you would like to be part of our CARE Coalition effort or stay informed about our ongoing projects, subscribe to our monthly mailing list by emailing [email protected], follow us on Facebook @ValleyCARECoalition or visit our website at http://www.valleycarecoalition.com to see what we’re up to! If you know someone who is feeling depressed or hopeless, visit them or encourage them to call 988 (24/7 staff) for free help!