Mental Health

Mental health - is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”1

Mental illness - is defined as “collectively all diagnosable mental disorders” or “health conditions that are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior (or some combination thereof) associated with distress and/or impaired functioning.”2

State & National Resource for Parents, Teachers, and other School Staff

Montana Mental Health Resources

A.W.A.R.E., Inc. Delivers disability services for Montanans with challenging mental health, emotional and in some instances, physical disability needs who otherwise would be served in a more restrictive setting or perhaps not served at all.

Benefis Healthcare – Behavioral Health Program (Great Falls) Addiction Treatment Center offers state-of-the-art addiction-counseling services for adults and adolescents.

Billings Mental Health Center

Clinical Psychology Center, Department of Psychology, The University of Montana. Provides confidential assessment and psycho-therapeutic services for children, adolescents, adults, couples and families.

Easter Seals/Goodwill, Northern Rocky Mountain (Great Falls) Provides clinical services, including case management, home health care, home care, private-duty nursing, psychosocial rehabilitation, mental health counseling and case management and hospice.

Intermountain Children’s Home (Helena) Is a non-profit specializing in nurturing, therapeutic environments for children under severe emotional distress. ICH integrates relationship-based treatment and sound clinical discipline to assure a permanent family for every child.

Missoula YWCA Offers “Ada’s Place” 18-month transitional housing program for homeless women and their children; Intimate Partner Violence Prevention program; the Pathways Home; children’s services; domestic violence and emergency services; sexual assault services; support groups; outreach; apprenticeships & job training; Girls Using Their Strengths (GUTS) Leadership Project for middle and high school girls; Planet Kids Supervised Visitation/ Exchange Center; and the Racial Justice Initiative.

Missoulian’s “Uncover Missoula” Lists support groups in the Missoula area.

Montana Association of School Psychologists

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS)

Montana Mental Disabilities Board of Visitors Provides independent oversight of Montana’s residential facilities for people with developmental disabilities and mental health facilities for people with mental illnesses, and assures that their treatment is humane, consistent with established clinical and other professional standards, and meets the standards set by state law. Advocates for development of high-quality, effective, compassionate treatment services and protects the rights of people receiving services from Montana’s residential and mental health facilities.

Montana Mental Health Association is a nonprofit organization which educates and advocates for the mental health of all Montanans. MMHA provides resource referrals, professional education, and informational materials for mental health providers, consumers, family members and the general public. MMHA is the official Montana Outreach Partner for the National Institute on Mental Health.

Montana Psychological Association

National Alliance on Mental Illness – Montana Chapter

New Directions for Living Well with a Disability
Based at The University of Montana Rural Institute, this 8-week Health Promotion Workshop teaches tools that help people with disabilities continue to do the things they enjoy. Topics include goal setting, problem solving, optimistic thinking, avoiding depression, healthy communication, information seeking, nutrition, physical activity, advocacy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Facilitate — Learn more about how to facilitate a Living Well with a Disability group.

Participate — Locate Montana’s Living Well trainings!

Shodair Hospital (Helena)- The Children’s Psychiatric Unit provides in-patient psychiatric services for children 3-12 years old. Two Adolescent Units provide residential psychiatric treatment for children 12-18 years old.

Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch (Billings)- Psychiatric Residential Treatment Center provides multiple levels of residential treatment for seriously emotionally disturbed youth. Yellowstone Academy provides on-campus Special Education services. YBGR Community Homes provide less structured treatment settings that prepare and re-introduce youth back into their communities. The broad continuum of mental health services and programs also includes Case Management, Therapeutic Foster Care, In-Home Family Support, School Based Programs and Independent Living Program.

Youth Dynamics (Billings) Offices in Billings, Boulder, Bozeman, Butte, Glendive, Great Falls, Helena, Lame Deer, Livingston, Malta, Miles City, Sidney and Wolf Point provide a variety of mental health services for children and families: Therapeutic Family Care, Therapeutic Foster Care, the Guide Home Program, Therapeutic Group Care, Therapeutic Group Home Program, Shelter Care Program, Group Home Program, Day Treatment Program, Intensive Case Management Program, Family Support Team Program, Family Based Services Program, Outpatient Therapy Program, Family Support Assistant Program, and Therapeutic Respite Care Program. A Substance Abuse Program is planned.

National Mental Health Resources

American Federation of Teachers (AFT)- Provides multiple resources on creating safe and welcoming schools, step-by-step reporting procedures, and training programs for educators about warning signs, and policies that foster a partnership between the student’s family and the school.

Center for Mental Health In Schools-UCLA School Mental Health Project-This site provides a comprehensive listing of mental health resources for school nurses, staff, parents and students including crisis and disaster response, violence, suicide, and includes:

Children's Mental Health Network- Provides weekly news and unbiased analysis of key issues on children, youth and mental health and well-being. The site reviews information about issues that impact children and youth with emotional and behavioral challenges and their families in a simplified form, focusing on the key elements requiring action and involvement. The student Mental Health page provides information on the different types of mental health disorders, advice for overcoming these disorders, as well as additional resources for help with substance use and eating disorders. Information on this site is targeted towards college students

Helping Children Cope with Disaster (FEMA)- FEMA provides resources for parents and educators on how to respond to a child during or after a disaster. 

National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH)-Offers educational resources, research publications and updates, statistics and news related to mental health topics. This agency is part of the National Institute of Health.

National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement- This site provides trauma-related and bereavement support services within school settings, collaborates with professional organizations, governmental and non-governmental agencies and community groups to help students, staff and families at times of crisis, and provides resources, training materials, consultation and technical assistance for schools, professional training programs, professional organizations, governmental and non-governmental agencies, and communities in the areas of crisis and loss.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network-This website has resources for school personnel on bullying, cyber bullying, child trauma, and psychological first aid.

Texting and Talking with Teens- Office of Adolescent and Mental Health offers samples of how parents and other caring adults can text teens to let them know that they’re proud of them.

University of Maryland: School of Medicine, Center for School Mental Health-  This site provides many resources and links on mental health support. The site promotes the advancement of evidence-based care in K-12 schools and collaboration at local, state, national, and international levels to advance research, training, policy, and practice in school mental health. 


  1. World Health Organization. Strengthening Mental Health Promotion. Geneva, World Health Organization (Fact sheet no. 220), 2001.
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, 1999.