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The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships For Mental Health Journalism 1999-2000

Pat Bellinghausen

Assistant Editor, Billings Gazette
Former Assistant City Editor, Billings Gazette
Billings, Montana

Topic: The needs of people with mental illnesses in rural communities

Published Work:

Gazette Opinion: HUB Needs Local Support to Serve Needy
It's 10 till 10 on a chilly May morning. Four middle-aged men dressed in jackets, jeans, and baseball caps sit on a low concrete wall outside the long brick building at 515 North 27th Street. They wait for the HUB to open.

Gazette Opinion: Ensure Healthier Future - Cover Kids
Covering Montana children should be the first step in Montana's effort to reduce the state's high rate of uninsured residents.

Editorial: Taking Suicide Seriously
A recent series of suicides at Montana State Prison and the high overall rate of suicide in Montana have spurred state leaders to action

Program Encourages Community Living by Mentally Ill
Forty-five percent of Montana's population lives in areas short on mental health care professionals. That's 397,000 people living in communities without psychiatrists or adequate numbers of other mental health care professionals, according to federal Department of Health and Human Services standards and population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau

Sharing Hope Helps Rural Families Deal With Mental Health Problems
In after-hours quiet at the Carnegie Public Library on Main Street, seven men and three women pulled chairs up around a table flanked by walls of books and dark oak columns. Familiar faces all, they helped themselves to homemade cake and a carafe of coffee

Editorial: Medicaid Redesign Offers Risks, Rewards
Medicaid is the program "nobody loves" because it's costly, cumbersome and pays low rates for care. And it's "a lifesaver for thousands of Montanans," covering 40 percent of births and 60 percent of nursing home residents.

Editorial: Redesign Medicaid to Fit Montana Needs
Montana public health officials have undertaken a long-overdue effort to redesign state-funded health-care programs. Medicaid and other programs, such as the Children's Health Insurance Program, must change to meet the goals of serving needy Montanans and the demands of funding limits.

Putting Names and Faces on Rural Mental Health Issues
What Theron Jorgenson remembered most about her trip to Montana State Hospital was the humiliation of being handcuffed by a sheriff's deputy at the local hospital. "He handcuffed me right in front of everybody," the soft-spoken woman told me when I visited her basement apartment. "It was degrading."

Opinion Editor: Montanans Grapple With Nation's Big Health Issues
But wait, your plan has to work for everyone in Insure Montana's purchasing pool. That's 2,225 employees plus their 3,352 dependents at 771 small businesses from Missoula to Glendive. And resources are limited. If you spend more in one care area, you must spend less in others.

Weekly Drug Court Delivers Sober Judgment

State Fails Mentally Ill
Montana's failing grade in a nationwide analysis of state mental health systems is, as Gary Mihelish, president of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill-Montana Chapter said, "extremely disappointing." Dismal as Montana's grade is, the nation as a whole rated only a D. And in reading some scores and narratives, it's hard to see that some D states are better off than Montana. The bottom line is that mental health care in America doesn't work well for millions of Americans who suffer from serious mental illnesses.

Mental Health Care Tailored to Native Culture
Caring for the mental health of a rural, Indian community calls for a careful, respectful approach. Northern Cheyenne behavioral health doesn't formally advertise its services, nor does it encourage other health care services to make appointments for their patients.

Help Your Kids Cope With Terror
When I was growing up in central Missouri, missile silos were built on all sides of my hometown. The chain-link fences and airmen in blue trucks from Whiteman Air Force Base were as much a part of the landscape as cattle and cornfields.

Many Montanans Cross Border for Mental Health Service
It's not surprising that Eastern Montana people cross the state line for psychiatric care. There's not a single psychiatrist practicing in Montana east of Billings. In good weather, Billings is a four-hour drive from Sidney. Williston is a mere 40 miles away.

Racicot Urged to Sustain Mental Health Program
The Eastern Montana Community Mental Health Center board has asked Gov. Marc Racicot not to reduce the state program that funds mental health services for low-income adults and children.

Help Wanted: Mental Health Workers, Doctors for Rural Montana
Forty-five percent of Montana's population lives in areas short on mental health care professionals. That's 397,000 people living in communities without psychiatrists or adequate numbers of other mental health care professionals, according to federal Department of Health and Human Services standards and population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Strength in Small Numbers: Sharing Hope Helps Rural Families Deal With Mental Health Problems

Struggling Against Stigma: Neighbors Can Help, Gossip Can Hurt
One of the good things about living in a small, close-knit community is knowing your neighbors. Yet when someone has need of counseling or other treatment for a mental illness, fear that the neighbors will know can deter people from getting care. However, when a person does seek help, a supportive small community can help him recover and stay well.

Talking About Suicide May Save a Life
Jamison, a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, writes a compelling account of the devastating toll suicide takes on society. I’ve had the privilege of meeting Dr. Jamison.

Three Decades of Care
Once the Mental Hygiene Clinic, a local office of Warm Springs State Hospital, the clinic officially became the Mental Health Center in 1971 with the help of a 10-year federal grant.

Gazette Editor Honored for Writing on Mental Health
Foundation Recognizes Gazette Staffers

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