I hope you are well and that you had a wonderful summer. I love hearing about all the summer adventures the people we serve had and applaud the people on our team for helping make these memories happen.
I also hope you all had a great Labor Day. This holiday is a reminder for us to pause and reflect on our workforce. Words will never suffice to adequately express my gratitude for the people on the AWARE staff. Each one of you is integral to helping us bring our mission to life. I say it often, but it truly takes a team, and we have a great one. We have employees who started yesterday, we have people who have dedicated more than 30 years to our mission, and we have everything in between! The contributions that our team makes to Montana communities are significant. Thank you for your dedication to the people we serve and to helping people live independent lives.
Speaking of our mission, we have a fun opportunity coming up to support our work. On September 28, AWARE is hosting a charity golf scramble at the Missoula Country Club. This is the first time we have held an event like this in Missoula. We are excited to build awareness, make new friends, and raise a few dollars at this friendly scramble. The field is filling up quickly, but we have a few team slots available, and I invite you to join us – no need to be a great golfer! Secure your spot at www.Aware-inc.org/golf. I hope to see you there!
As we look ahead to fall and the upcoming mid-term general election, we all have an opportunity to share what is important to us with candidates. We can all make a difference in our communities by voting for candidates that will effectively represent us in public office. Now, more than ever, we need your support in the form of advocacy for adequate funding for behavioral health in Montana. Community-based behavioral health services have historically been grossly underfunded, even though these lower-cost services help Montanans to remain living in their communities, with support from family and friends, and remain working or in school. A report on provider rates performed by a contractor selected by our state’s executive branch recommends significant rate increases for these supports. Behavioral health is at a crossroads and without improved funding, this important piece of the behavioral health system of care will be on the brink of collapse.
Later in this issue of INK, you will find information about voter registration. I encourage you to take the time to educate yourself and contact candidates running for public office in your districts, your legislators, the governor, and the director of the Department of Public Health and Human Services to share why they should support behavioral health services in the next budget. Your voice matters. If you have questions about advocacy, please reach out; I am enthusiastic about our mission and happy to discuss.
This issue of INK has some great content in it. If you like what you read each month, please share! Invite your friends and family to subscribe to INK and follow AWARE on Facebook and Instagram. Our team is doing incredible work, and your support through donations, advocacy, and sharing our stories makes it possible.
Matt Bugni – CEO