2023 Wrap-Up and Gratitude

NAMI Montana 2023 Wrap Up and Gratitude

Matt Kuntz

December 29, 2023

Snowy mountain image at sunrise
Snowy mountain image at sunrise

This year marked my fifteenth anniversary with NAMI Montana. It has been a remarkable journey for each of these fifteen years, but this last one feels really special.


I've put together a list of our accomplishments from this year. I am so grateful to our staff, volunteers, and donors for making this happen. It's remarkable what we can do together. 


  • Expanded the number and frequency of education and support groups for families and peers across Montana by transitioning from volunteer to paid trainers. Really interesting successes in some rural areas where the volunteer model could not generate support. Crafted an agreement with Montana DPHHS to support this model in the future.

  • Continued to support the youth suicide prevention initiative at Montana State University which has delivered the Youth Aware of Mental Health program to over thirty Montana schools and recently was awarded a major expansion grant.

  • Continued to push a multi-year policy effort to rebuild Montana’s mental health and treatment system which had been markedly hurt by both state budget cuts and COVID-19 workforce issues. The attention around this effort in 2021-2022 helped contribute to massive state investments in 2023 in Montana State Hospital and in a $300 million investment into our state’s behavioral health care system.

  • Helped write and pass HB 557 with Rep. Jennifer Carlson to fund community crisis beds through the marijuana tax.  Current projections of $1.6 million of supplementary crisis care support in 2024.

  • Helped write and pass HB 286 with Rep. Mary Caferro to fund research-proven youth suicide prevention through the marijuana tax. 

  • Helped write and pass SB 6 with Senator Jen Gross to help better manage and support criminal offenders convicted as Guilty but Mentally Ill

  • Helped write the value-based care transition section of the federal Veterans' Health Empowerment, Access, Leadership, and Transparency for our Heroes (HEALTH) Act of 2023, with Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas. The section of this bill that we worked on (Section 201) requires and guides the Veterans Healthcare administration in the transition away from fee-for-service healthcare reimbursement and towards capitated rates with value-based incentives. We are hopeful the Veterans HEALTH Act of 2023 will pass in January 2024.

  • Laid the groundwork for expansive healthcare research reform in testimony to Senator Jon Tester's Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

  • Partnered with Johns Hopkins and Cincinnati Childrens to write “A Guide for Schools on Student-Directed Suicide Prevention Programs Eligible for Implementation under the STANDUP Act, a Rapid Review and Evidence Synthesis.” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37593936/

  • Held our the Montana Conference on Mental Illness in Billings with featured speakers covering personal mental health recovery, the Hannon Precision Mental Health Act, psychedelics, homelessness and more.

  • The Montana NAMIWalk raised more than $120,000 for NAMI Montana and NAMI affiliates across the state.

  • Dramatically expanded our awareness and social media efforts through a mental health awareness video series featuring country music singer and mental health advocate Jason DeShaw. This contributed to the doubling of visitors to our NAMI Montana website for awareness and resources.

  • Increased the reach of our “Mental Health in the Workplace” presentations through presenting at a state disability conference and employer insurance conference


It is a little cheesy to say after 15 years of my work and 35 years as an organization, but I think that we are still just getting started at seeing the kind of organization that NAMI Montana and how much help we can be to people who live with mental health conditions in Montana and their families. We are so grateful for your continued support.


Please set your calendar's for the Trans-Montana Snowmobile banquet at the Copper King in Butte on February 3rd.  The Trans-Montana charity fundraiser is critical to all of NAMI Montana's work with youth and veterans. You can buy tickets at this link.


Thank you and have a wonderful New Year!




Matt Kuntz

Executive Director



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1331 Helena Ave
Helena, MT 59601

P : (406) 443-7871

E : colleen@namimt.org