The State of Montana is adjusting the way it uses a $263,000 mental health block grant from the federal Government to better address the issue of psychosis in young people. Zoe Bernard is the Administrator of the Addictive and Mental Disorders Division at Montana DPHHS, she says that changes in Montana Health care are allowing more mental health prevention services.

"The first episode Psychosis Program is being funded out of a grant that we have had for some time." said Bernard. "However, we have not until very recently been able to do much prevention work with this grant. Part of the reason that this is possible is that medicate expansion has allowed us to cover other things."

The First Episode Psychosis Program is designed specifically for people between the ages of 16 and 25. Because of Montana’s rural nature, the first test run of the program is isolated to just Livingston, but it will help monitor university students in Bozeman as well.

"We were not going to be able to have First Episode Psychosis sites all over the state, at least initially," Bernard said. "Part of the reason for that is that it requires some very specific psychiatric monitoring. We do have a limited number of psychiatrists in the state. We knew that we were probably limiting it to one of the University towns or to Billings, but that was really all that we could do."

The First Episode Psychosis program began service in Livingston this month. The efficacy of the program is being monitored to see if can be replicated in other cities in Montana.