Gov. Steve Bullock announced an extension to Montana National Guard benefits of the State Employee Assistance Program to over 3,000 members and employees. Maj. Gen. Matthew Quinn said National Guardsmen will have access to a wide variety of employee assistance benefits, including a 24-hour crisis hotline.

"It's just to benefit that I think as the governor said yesterday, there's plenty of stressors in the lives of the National Guard soldiers as they try to balance their military career with their civilian career, family needs," Quinn said. "This just may provide an outlet for them to reach out and request the help that they may need."

Quinn said it makes a lot of sense to extend these benefits to his full time employees.

"For the bulk of my force, I don't know what type of benefits they have out there. This gives them benefits that the state employees do," Quinn said. "For the bulk of my force, with the question of whether they have that coverage or not, it made a lot of sense to provide this; And at the same time, go ahead and provide those services to the full time employees for one reason."

The program is effective May 1.