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Demonstration brings attention to lack of inpatient psychiatric services at Bozeman Health

HOSPITAL DEMONSTRATION WEB.jpg
Posted at 4:36 PM, Apr 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-14 20:12:59-04

BOZEMAN — Oftentimes when people feel like their voices are not being heard or when they feel like an issue is not being resolved, they’ll hold a demonstration like the one that was held on Tuesday.

“It seems as though there are people in power at the hospital who don’t give a damn about people with mental illnesses,” said Jessie Close, one of the demonstrators.

Several dozen people gathered near Bozeman Health Tuesday afternoon.

“To advocate for the most vulnerable people - people with behavioral health illnesses, substance abuse disorder, and mental illness. They’re not getting continuity of care in Bozeman,” explained Dr. Colette Kirchoff, another demonstrator not associated with Bozeman Health.

And they want to see certain services at the hospital.

“In-patient psychiatric health beds for people when they’re in a crisis, a mental health crisis,” Dr. Kirchhoff said.

Bozeman Health said they’re aware of the issue and they understand.

“It seems as though there are people in power at the hospital who don’t give a damn about people with mental illnesses,” said Jessie Close, one of the demonstrators.

“We hear you, and we are listening," said Diane Patterson, Chief Nursing Officer. "The concern is around in-patient services is one piece of the services that we need to consider and are considering for care of the community,” responded Diane Patterson, the chief nursing officer for the Bozeman Health System.

Patterson explained what those services could look like.

“So what we want to do is really thoughtfully consider and intentionally consider what the needs are and what’s going to be the best thing for Bozeman Health to do in partnership with everybody in the community,” Patterson said.

Demonstrators walked along the sidewalk holding signs and believe this is not the end of the conversation.

“It’s really wonderful to get together with these people who all agree, and we hope that we’re just going to keep moving forward, hoping to bring attention to this so that eventually people with mental illness and substance use disorder get continuity of care and access to care here at our hospital,” Dr. Kirchoff said.

This complex issue does go beyond one news story, so just because we don’t have an answer today doesn’t mean we can’t work to find one.

Bozeman Health said they are currently working to gather expert analysis and data needed to fully understand the mental health challenges in the community, which includes considering inpatient behavioral health services.