CMHRR is an interdisciplinary MSU research center, established in 2014 as part of the Office of Research and Economic Development. CHMRR supports basic and applied research related to mental health and wellbeing, with a particular focus on the mental health needs of Montanans and rural communities, including K-12 public school communities. The purpose of CMHRR is to facilitate collaborative research, conduct relevant local, regional and national outreach and engagement, and support mental health practitioner workforce development for the benefit of rural Montana. 

CMHRR is collaborative and inclusive. We are interested in understanding research and organizational efforts which aim to address wellbeing needs in isolated communities with limited resources, including rural school communities. While it is imperative to understand wellbeing interventions that are happening systemically, CMHRR supports preventative programming and systemic models of wellbeing support for rural communities. CMHRR aims to serve as an information hub for communities, schools, faculty, and organizations; a means to share research and elevate relevant resources through outreach events, networking, and connection.

The impact of mental illness in the US and Montana

Mental illness and its consequences in the US

  • Mental health disorders occur in 25 percent of the US population each year
  • Most mental disorders occur before age 50: 50 percent occur by age 14, and 75 percent by age 24
  • Costlier than all other US health problems combined, with $201 billion spent on health care each year
  • Suicide is a leading cause of death in US youth and young adults (ages 15-34), second only to accidents

Mental illness and its consequences in Montana

  • Highest suicide rate in the country, nearly twice the national rate, and the second leading cause of death in youth and adults (ages 10-44)
  • Large populations at high risk of mental illness and/or suicide, including Native Americans and military veterans
  • 12 percent of all 7th-8th grade Montana youth report attempting suicide one or more times in the past year

What are the challenges to improving the mental health of Montanans? 

  • Care resources are focused on intervening in crisis rather than prevention and early treatment
  • Shortage of mental health clinical workforce
  • Sustainable systemic funding strategies and models for preventative programming, such as school-based clinics in rural school communities
  • Higher rates of specific mental health disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury in particular populations, like military veterans
  • Wide-spread use or abuse of alcohol or other substances that may lead to addiction or health impairments