Child-Centered Mental Health Initiative Funded by Bozeman Health

What is the Child-Center Community Based Mental Health Initiative?

Current Mental Health America of Montana (MHA of MT) executive director, Dan Aune, has been approached by Bozeman Health to convene key community stakeholders to participate in a “community conversation” regarding the development of a strategic community based child-centered mental health delivery system.  MHA of MT has agreed and determined to have an informed discussion there is a need for the following:

Provide a gap analysis of children’s mental health and substance use treatment services

Engage key stakeholders and families

Research communities who develop a progressive child-center community-based plan

Provide as a deliverable a child-center service delivery plan to address how best to serve our children and families in the greater Gallatin medical community

Compelling Issue

The greater Gallatin medical community lacks a strategic and transparent service model to care for children and youth experiencing a mental health crisis.  The current system often exposes them to more trauma forcing access to services through the Bozeman Health Emergency Department (ED). The ED, while suited to triaging emergency physical needs, can be a stark medical environment adding to the crisis and exacerbating the mental health symptoms.

Bozeman Health has identified a growing trend for children and their families seeking psychiatric and/or mental health crisis services in the ED.  The ED’s initial assessment has revealed that many of the children presented do not meet the criteria for emergent care and the ED staff are often attempting to find less restrictive community based services.  No current child/youth serving agency responds to crisis in the ED.

The best entry-point for children in crisis and their families would be community-based services which engage the family and community resources to meet immediate needs while developing continuum of care that is child-centered and trauma-informed.

As a pre-initiative process, MHA of MT has established a key stakeholder list, identified a convening process and has initiated a formal pre-initiative stakeholder meeting to finalize commitments, complete the key stakeholder list, determine desired outcomes and complete the initiative timeline.  The key theme of the proposed work is to address how best to serve our children and families in the Greater Gallatin community has the following four components:

Component One:     Engage key stakeholders through Focus Group meetings

Component Two:      Provide a gap analysis of children’s mental health and substance abuse services

Component Three:   Research 5 to 10 communities nationally that have a progressive child-

centered mental health delivery system

Component Four:     Develop a sustainable child-center community-based plan

The Focus Groups would be led by Dan Aune, Executive Director of MHA of MT with an emphasis on the following Talking Points:

  • Catalog current services and gaps
  • Identify readily available data on children’s psycho/social needs or development in our community
  • Understand current road blocks from a child & family perspective
  • Understand current road blocks from a first responder perspective
  • Understand current road blocks from a provider perspective
  • Determine the want or ideal child-centered community-based solution (one that looks like Bozeman)
  • Convene focus groups representing a diverse stakeholder group
  • Identify sustainable funding
  • Develop an on-going evaluation process for insuring the plan meets the needs and identifies strengths and areas of development
  • Provide a 3 to 5-year plan of action

The final plan document will include the following:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Technical Assistance Goals

III.        Findings of Key Operational Activities

  1. Recommendations
  2. Recommended Child-Center Community Based Mental Health Delivery System
  3. Next Steps – Plan Management