Montana Department of Agriculture launches free advisory services

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BOZEMAN — The Montana Department of Agriculture has completed the rollout of its “Beyond the Weather” program designed to provide access to mental health services for people working in Montana’s agriculture industry. The final component of the program is to provide free advisory services to farmers.

“We know Montana is in the throes of a mental health crisis. In my mind, this is less of a crisis and more of a chronic problem,” says Dr. Eric Arzubi, CEO of Frontier Psychiatry

The Montana Department of Agriculture on April 15 launched free advisory services for members of the Montana farming and ranching community.

“For me, this is one of the most important tools because it actually provides real mental health services,” says Christy Clark, director of the Montana Department of Agriculture.

Edgar Cedillo – MTN NEWS

“For me, this is one of the most important tools because it actually provides real mental health services,” says Christy Clark, director of the Montana Department of Agriculture.

The program aims to provide telehealth counseling services to a community with limited access.

“Make it easier for farmers and herders who might otherwise find it difficult to reach out,” says Arzubi.

The Department of Agriculture has partnered with Frontier Psychiatry. Arzubi says he hopes to be part of a change in the state.

“What we’ve been doing for decades in mental health in Montana hasn’t worked,” Arzubi says.

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Edgar Cedillo – MTN NEWS

“What we’ve been doing for decades in mental health in Montana hasn’t worked,” Arzubi says.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 17.9% of Montana residents have been unable to access mental health care such as counseling or therapy.

“It’s a community of people who often don’t have good access to mental health, rural communities tend to isolate themselves,” Clark says.

Through telehealth, they hope to reach every corner of the state.

“We want to do everything we can to make mental health services accessible to everyone in any part of Montana,” says Arzubi.

As the program has rolled out, Clark and Arzubi say the reception has been good from community members.

“On the very first day, we received four calls, and I had no idea of ​​the request or the willingness of people to reach out,” says Arzubi. “But I’m telling you we got four calls and three out of four were from people who had never sought mental health services before.

Understand that sometimes the terrain and the work make access difficult.

“To have this bridge now where it’s pretty easy to cross to get help. Where before you had to drive around town. It’s not realistic when you calve and catch up,” Clark says.

“I guarantee there are way more people struggling than you can imagine, it always feels like you’re the only one, but that’s not the case,” Arzubi says.

Both are optimistic that a change will take place in our state.

“I think we’re going to see a difference. I think the farming community is going to embrace mental wellness and mental health and start caring for each other in those capacities,” Clark says.

Below is a link to the Department of Agriculture website with steps to log into the council and the number to make an appointment: 406-200-8471 and press 7.

https://agr.mt.gov/Topics/EG/FRSAN-pages/Beyond-the-Weather


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