Missoula County takes step toward new behavioral health crisis center

David Erickson

In the first nine months of 2020, the emergency department at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula saw an average of 7.5 people per day for behavioral health issues, including substance abuse, because there was no other place for them to go.

That’s according to Terry Kendrick, the program manager for Missoula’s Strategic Alliance for Improved Behavioral Health, a coalition of government agencies, nonprofits and other organizations working to build a new facility in Missoula for people dealing with a mental health crisis.

Kendrick was giving an update to the Missoula County commissioners earlier this month about the need for the facility, which will technically be called a Crisis Receiving Center. It’s scheduled to open sometime this fall.

The new short-term emergency mental health treatment center will be at the Western Montana Mental Health Center, a nonprofit that is the project manager for the facility. Billings is the only other place in the state with a crisis receiving center.

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At the meeting on July 12, the commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding with Western Montana Mental Health Center to distribute $113,154 of County Tribal Matching Grant

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