Montana DPHHS Network of Care Web Site Helps People Find Mental Health Services

May 3, 2010
Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

Helena, Mont. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services would like the public to be aware of a Web site that is available to help people quickly and efficiently find mental health services in Montana. 

The Network of Care for Behavioral Health website can be accessed at: http://montana.networkofcare.org/mh/legislate/calendar.cfm

The website is a one-stop information tool for mental health resources.

“Any time you can make it easier for people to find the resources they need without wasting a lot of time searching, that’s a step in the right direction,” Director Anna Whiting Sorrell said. “This website helps Montana families, individuals and agencies concerned with mental illness issues find critical information they need in a timely manner.”

According to Whiting Sorrell, the service is free to all Montana citizens. “We’ve gotten tremendous feedback from people who have been utilizing this service,” Whiting Sorrell said. “Once additional Montana residents discover the website, I believe they’ll find it extremely helpful.”

The site is operated and maintained by Trilogy Integrated Resources LLC through a contract with DPHHS.

The site includes a comprehensive directory of mental health resources in Montana, a library of articles from the leading mental health experts, a directory of all public and private insurance options for mental health coverage, a federal and state legislative bill-tracking system and a section for providers.

The site is unique to the state. “There is no one place where you can locate all these resources,” explains Marcia Armstrong of the Addictive and Mental Disorders Division for DPHHS.

There is an abundance of information to choose from, Armstrong mentioned. Under the ‘Services’ button alone there are 24 categories available. One service is the ‘Care/Case Management’ where a total of 85 mental health service providers are listed. Another popular service is the ‘Outpatient Mental Health Care’ database that shows 124 providers.  The ‘Library’ contains over 30,000 articles, fact sheets and reports produced by leading experts and organizations in the field.

The site also has a state and federal bill-tracking system used to track legislation on new laws that could affect people with mental illness. Yet another section is devoted to insurance and breaks down both low-cost insurance and private insurance and there’s a database for local, state and national ‘Support and Advocacy Groups’.

And, finally, the site features a ‘My folder/WRAP’ (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) section that is a secure way for people with mental illness to post their personal information that can be accessed only by a trusted friend or relative.

Armstrong says the website currently includes valuable information, but it is still evolving. “I know there are many providers who would like to have their information on the site, but have not yet done so,” Armstrong said. “I would encourage anyone who provides mental health services to add their information to the site.”

Providers can easily add their information by going to the web site and clicking into the ‘Provider’ button. Before the information is uploaded, it is first screened by DPHHS staff.

The website is not just for people with mental illness, but also family members as well. “In many cases, people are faced with trying to help a family member who is involved in a mental health crisis and they don’t know what to do, or where to turn for information,” Armstrong said.

The site could also be a valuable resource for people being discharged from mental health facilities around the state. “Once people are discharged, they need to know where to go for services in their communities,” Armstrong said.

In addition to Montana, several other states have similar Network of Care sites including Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Connecticut. 

Originally, the Network of Care project was begun with an innovation grant from the State of California. Regardless of where individuals, families and agencies begin their search for assistance with behavioral health issues, the Network of Care for Behavioral Health ensures they will find what they need. Network of Care sites enable people to find the right service at the right time; educate themselves about their issues; understand current policy initiatives and advocate directly to elected officials, and better manage their affairs, interactions and important records