BOZEMAN — The Bozeman City Commission made more than $1 million of net cuts to the 2021 budget but made sure to add funds to a mental health advocacy organization that’s seen an increase in calls during the pandemic.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Help Center in Bozeman has seen an increase in the need for their services by 52 percent.
“So Help Center 2-1-1 is the local, 24-hour crisis line. And so we’re there for anyone who is in crisis, feeling suicidal, concerned about a loved one, needs community resources or just needing somebody to talk to,” said Mandy St. Aubyn, Development & Communications Coordinator at the Help Center.
The Help Center received a $30,000 grant from the city of Bozeman in part responding to residents demanding more funding going towards social service.
“We mostly work with nonprofits because they provide a great service, and so we support them. Because they can do it better and reach more people for the same dollar than we could,” said Bozeman Mayor Chris Mehl.
“This is the first time that we’ve received funding. We put in a proposal in May and that was accepted,” said St. Aubyn.
“So we are very grateful for that investment in our work and to help us be stronger partners with the city.”
The money will go towards increasing the number of crisis counselors in the office, and the Help Center says it’s especially important for them as demand continues to be high.
“The increase and need for services just tells us how essential it is to have an easy to remember number to call for anyone for anything that they need help with.”
2-1-1 services are free, and available 24/7. You can learn more about the Bozeman Help Center here: https://www.bozemanhelpcenter.org/