Under Pressure, Montana Hospital Considers Adding Psych Beds Amid a Shortage


September 22, 2021

Protesters march along the sidewalk in front of Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital to request that the health system provide inpatient psychiatric beds for those dealing with mental illness. (Olivia Weitz / Yellowstone Public Radio)

Gary Popiel had to drive more than 200 miles round trip to visit his adult daughters in separate behavioral health facilities as they received psychiatric and medical treatment.  

It was 2000, and the family's only options for inpatient psychiatric beds were in Helena and Missoula - far from their Bozeman, Montana, home and from each other. Fast-forward 21 years, and Montana's fourth-largest city still lacks a hospital behavioral health unit.

"This would be just as traumatic now as it was then. We still would have to leave Bozeman," Popiel said. "Why should families have to witness their...

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