Rural Mental Health Practice/Preparation Pathway
The Rural Mental Health Preparation/Practice Pathways (RMHP3) model is a federally funded program intended on placing developing mental health professionals into rural Montana.
The rural context of Montana – with its vast distances and sparse population – is not simply a backdrop for its citizens. Rather, the fabric of each rural community in Montana has a complex and dynamic culture shaped by unique social, economic, political, cultural, and historical relations.
Montana is also Big Sky Country; as the fourth largest state in the union with just over one million residents, Montana spreads over 147,040 square miles of prairie, rivers, lakes, and mountains and is home to 835 schools—nearly all of them very small. More than half of the state’s schools have fewer than 100 students, 92 have only one teacher, 65 are considered “one room school houses” and only 6% (51 schools) serve 500 or more students. One in four school systems in Montana average only five students in each grade.
The vast majority of schools and communities in Montana are classified as rural and remote; 75% of our schools are classified as “rural” and 96% of our school districts are classified as small rural.
Any of these schools reside on one of seven reservations; therefore, this grant also focuses on tribal schools located in rural communities. Montana has the highest percentage of rural schools or districts and these small Montana schools struggle to have adequate access to mental health service providers therefore leaving students and community members vulnerable to serious mental health needs.
Which Schools and Communities Qualify?
Most schools and communities qualify for a RMHP3 mental health professional. Montana has 348 small rural schools and 335 low income rural schools. To determine if your town/school qualifies, please refer to the map below (this map was created by the Montana Rural Teacher Project (MRTP)).
You can also contact one of our faculty members to determine eligibility.