BOZEMAN – Healthcare professionals and people from all over southwest Montana gathered at the Best Western Inn in Bozeman to talk about mental health on Thursday.
Bozeman Health, Gallatin County Health Department, Gallatin Mental Health Center, HRDC, Montana State University and many other businesses and people attended the Elevating Behavioral Health Campaign to reduce stigma surrounding mental health issues people face every day.
More than 100 people were in attendance. There were speakers, activities, and a lot of discussion about how to raise awareness on this issue and how to address mental health in the future.
Mary Frances Thornton works for Bozeman Health as a Behavioral Health Specialist. She said it was great to open up her mind to others’ ideas of how to make it okay for people to realize they are not okay mentally.
"You don’t have to be a professional to talk to your neighbor about, ‘Hey I noticed that I haven’t see you outside a lot lately’ or speaking to your mom about ‘You used to call me every day and now it has been months since we have spoken’, so I think that’s really the great thing about reducing that stigma is it brings a lot more people into the room,” said Thornton.
Bozeman Health says Montana’s suicide rate is usually double the national rate and has the second highest alcohol death rate in the country.