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Mental Health advisory council changes name, focus


November 19, 2019

The Hill County Mental Health Local Advisory Council discussed Monday what its focus should be and agreed to change its name based on its new focus.

Members voted on renaming the council the Hill County Behavioral Health Local Advisory Council.

“Things are shifting from mental health to behavioral health so it is more inclusive of substance use and recovery and other stuff like that,” council chair Andi Daniel said.

Daniel led a discussion about what is working well in behavioral health in Hill County.

Montana State University Hill County Extension Agent Jasmine Carbajal said her Youth Aware of Mental Health partnership with the Havre Public School District is going well.

“It was really successful and we had great feedback,” she said. “We hope to keep doing it every year.”

Montana State University-Northern Professor Darlene Sellers said groups and organizations in the community provide the council good support, citing work with the school district as an example. However, she added, the council doesn’t have a good collaborative relationship with them as entities, but rather only with individual members who are part of the council.

“I think each of us sitting here representing different entities here on this council have these interactions with all these different organizations that are supporting education, wellness and our community,” Sellers said. “I see that working well, because I think we have never had a problem of anyone opening the door when we’ve gone and shared and talked about something that we need to do.”

Northern Professor Curtis Smeby asked what the council’s focus should be.

“I think what we have tried to focus on before is transportation and housing and those things are way beyond our power,” he said. “The barriers to that are way beyond what we can do.”

The council discussed the word “awareness” and used the word as an umbrella with branches of it focusing on suicide, substance abuse, wellness, self care, trauma and more and the relationships between those issues. Then the group decided to look at these more in depth in the coming meetings.

National Alliance on Mental Illness Havre representative Pamela Evans said that entity’s family support group that meets on Tuesdays is going well with five to 16 people in attendance.

She added that Saturday, Dec. 7, NAMI is hosting a friends-and-family class then a family-to-family class in January.

“Right now, our office is only open two days, which are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.,” Evans added.

The next meeting for the Hill County Behavioral Health Local Advisory Council will be Monday, Dec. 9, from noon to 1 p.m. at the Havre-Hill County Library.


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