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Bozeman's 24/7 Crisis Center of Compassion

Bozeman Help Center, Inc. was initially conceived back in February of 1971 by a small group that formed Parents and Children (PAC) to help alleviate the increasing drug problems in the Gallatin Valley among the teen population. On March 22nd, 1971, this group transitioned into Gallatin Council on Health and Drugs (GCHD) as a private nonprofit and opened the 24-hour crisis intervention center. June of that same year, the founders achieved financial help from a variety of key community stakeholders to open a 24/7 call-in, walk-in all-purpose crisis center in an abandoned house at 323 S. Wallace with an established easy-to-remember phone number, 586-3333 that is still used today. The crisis center outgrew their location and moved into their current office at 421 E. Peach Street in 1992. Over time, the program expanded by adding The Sexual Assault Counseling Center (1996) to provide trauma-based medical, legal, personal advocacy with on-going counseling to reduce the long-term effects of sexual abuse. This led to the name change from GCHD to Help Center, Inc. with a focus to provide support with well-trained volunteers that can respond with confidence to any crisis to anyone in an appropriate and professional manner by providing a safe and confidential environment with compassion. Bozeman Help Center, Inc. has been and continues to serve 13 southwest Montana counties with numerous programs such as 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Montana211.org (2007), The Sexual Assault Counseling Center, Hearts and Homes Family Resource Center, and Gallatin County Child Advocacy Center. More detailed information about each of these programs can be found at www.bozemanhelpcenter.org.

As Gallatin County and southwestern Montana experiences population growth, the current small space on Peach Street has caused enormous challenges keeping up with the rising demands of mental health and other services. Counseling rooms and walk-in crisis spaces are limited, compromising the focus and private care that clients need. After months of collaboration and community support, the organization’s Board of Directors and leaders agreed to purchase the 5.1-acre property at 699 Farmhouse Lane to expand their no-cost and confidential programs across our existing 13-county service area. The campus is owned by Western Montana Mental Health Center (WMMH), but they no longer offer the expansive in-person services, so this 5-building property can better utilize meeting the needs of mental health and other crisis in the community for Bozeman Help Center, Inc. The desire to purchase this campus inspired a campaign for immediate relocation, innovative expansion, and remarkable service. The WMMH campus has five buildings to meet important mental health-related community needs allowing consolidation of all Help Center, Inc. services into one location. Allowing them to increase direct-service crisis counseling staff and growth furthering organizational support to retain and train staff members to better accommodate anticipated rising call and service volume, and trauma-informed counseling at a time when sustained mental health support can be extremely difficult to access. Children who have been removed from their birth parents will have a private, neutral, and home-like space to continue connection with their parents, paired with supportive coaching and education for the adults to improve parenting skills to better serve the needs of their children. The extra space will also better serve the staff and volunteers who provide profoundly challenging services with adequate ergonomic, and technically adapted call center stations. Counselors working during the night, will have a comfortable place to sleep during lag times when they are not serving those in crisis. Volunteers and staff will be co-located and have well-designed collaborative workspaces, a feasible break area, and safe parking. With the generous support from Andrea and Michael Manship, for the first time in the 52 years, Bozeman Help Center Inc. will have a small suite of simple offices and conference rooms to better support team members and volunteers. Andrea and Michael Manship who will match dollar for dollar on the next $500,000 raised through donations. If you can help by volunteering, donating, and/or participating in fundraising events, please visit www.bozemanhelpcenter.org.

The desire to purchase this campus inspired a campaign for immediate relocation, innovative expansion, and remarkable service

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