Helena Indian Alliance Offers Court-Ordered and Community Health Programs

2:46 PM, Sep 27, 2023
2:46 PM, Sep 27, 2023

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Whether you need a court-ordered program or other mental and behavioral health service, the Helena Indian Alliance is ready to help. And while Helena Indian Alliance aims to serve the local Native American population, its services are for everyone in the Helena community.

Clients can visit in person or use telehealth services to access mental health counseling, addiction counseling, and peer support. Helena Indian Alliance also offers court-ordered programs.

“We offer chemical dependency evaluations, mental health evaluations, anger management,” said Toni Conway, HIA’s behavioral health care coordinator. “We do the ACT program and the Prime for Life course.”

ACT stands for assessment, course, and treatment. People who have received a DUI meet with a counselor and do a chemical dependency evaluation, Conway said. For a first DUI, they are referred to the two-day Prime for Life course.

“Prime for Life is a 12-hour evidence-based education course,” Conway said. “It goes over psychological factors, how it influences choices, and social factors that influence choices, and putting it all together.”

The course includes marijuana use because it has become legal, she said. Prime for Life guides people in reflecting on their use of substances, thinking ahead on what may lead them to use, and protecting themselves from not doing it again.

“Most people are first-time offenders,” Conway said. “They’re a little overwhelmed, but they respond well, and everybody seems to appreciate it once they’re done.”

The course is not just for adults. Underage people found in possession are referred to Prime for Life, though they attend just the first day of class.

People who have second or third DUIs do aftercare, which involves meeting with a counselor for a year.

“We don’t have too many people that reoffend, at least not that we are aware of,” Conway said.

Helena Indian Alliance’s licensed addiction counselor is knowledgeable and helps clients understand information they didn’t know before, Conway said.

“People really like her, and I’ve seen some people come and continue to see her even after,” she said.

One client who had been to other programs came to Helena Indian Alliance and went over concepts for recovery with the counselor.

“He said she taught him things he didn’t even know,” Conway said. “He said, ‘I didn’t even think there was anything new I could learn.’”

We offer other court-ordered services, and most groups are open to anyone who would like support. They include the contingency management program, outpatient chemical dependency group, and anger management group.

The trust group, which uses the contingency management approach, is a 12-week evidence-based program in which participants receive rewards, or reinforcements, for getting clean drug screens.

“They do urinalysis drug screens here twice a week, and then they are paid an incentive for them when they get clean UAs,” Conway said. “It is for stimulants.”

The anger management group, offered twice a week, is popular and has a waitlist, Conway said.

The need for mental and behavioral health services is high, including at Helena Indian Alliance.

“There’s such a demand out there,” Conway said. “Everybody’s got such a backlog. If they’re even taking new patients, it can be two to three months out.”

Because of this, part of Conway’s job as behavioral health care coordinator is to help people who need immediate assistance meet with someone right away, even if it’s just to provide them with information and send them in the best direction.

“There are so many things that happen at Helena Indian Alliance that are amazing,” she said. “This is just a small portion of it.”

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