Mental health is not something that affects some people; it affects all people. We all have a brain and emotions, which means we all have varying mental health needs and those needs change as we move through life.

For those in crisis, or those who know someone is crisis, there is help. Trained crisis counselors are on call 24 hours a day, seven days per week at the Help Center in Bozeman.  Those who want to access those services should dial 211 on their phone, or 406-586-3333. If the situation is an emergency, always call 911 and ask for a “CIT-trained” officer.

But most mental health needs are not crisis, so it’s also important that everyone maintains a support system for themselves and their families. It’s important that everyone works to eliminate the stigma attached to mental health services. Some important things we can all do:

  • Discuss mental health concerns with your health care provider. Your provider, whether a physician or come other type of provider, is always a good first step in seeking assistance.
  • Make sure to stop and listen when loved ones express their own challenges with mental health or substance abuse issues. Listening does not mean it’s your job to solve the problems, even though that’s an understandable impulse. Often, your family and friends just need someone to listen to their concerns. So listen, ask curious questions, and listen some more.
  • Take care of yourself. We all have different ways to cope with stress and anxiety. Exercise, meditation, prayer, counseling, and enjoyable hobbies are just some of the ways to stay healthy.
  • Watch out for periods of higher risk. Life is more stressful during and after certain life events. Be aware of this and unafraid to ask friends, colleagues, family, and yourself whether life events are impacting mental health. Some sensitive periods can be the weeks and months before and after having a baby, the period after military veterans return to civilian life, and major life transitions such as death, divorce, or marriage.

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