“No matter how loud I yell, no one hears me.”
Painting by Shodair Patient
We can’t change their trauma, but we can help heal their future.
Shodair is creating a healthy and hopeful Montana through specialized psychiatric care for children and adolescents.
Shodair provides treatment for children dealing with mental illness and other conditions that impact their health and well-being. We are the only place in Montana that offers both acute and residential treatment in one location. This gives patients and their families the treatment options they need in one place, close to home.
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If you have a child in crisis and in need of evaluation and stabilization, please call us directly at (800) 447-6614 or (406) 444-7521 for personal assistance.
Acute Psychiatric Inpatient Program
Shodair’s Acute Psychiatric Inpatient Program was designated in 2006 and offers intensive services for emotionally and behaviorally impaired children and their families who are in crisis. At Shodair, children and families interact with a team of specialists, including nurses, doctors, therapists, and teachers.
There are two acute care units that can accommodate up to 30 children from ages 3 to 18. The Grassland Unit has 20 beds and houses middle and high school students, while the High Desert Unit offers 10 beds for elementary school children.
The Grasslands Acute Care Unit at Shodair cares for up to 20 adolescents, ages 12 through 18, who are in psychiatric crisis.
Program Director: Carly Sell, RN
Phone number: 406-444-1093
The High Desert Acute Care Unit at Shodair cares for up to 10 children, ages 3 through 11, who are in psychiatric crisis.
Program Director: Michelle Herron
Phone number: 406-444-7510
Available services include:
- Medical evaluation and diagnosis
- Group therapies
- Family therapy
- Nutritional consultation
- Psychological and neuropsychological evaluations
- Coordination of treatment and aftercare plans with community providers
Children admitted to the Acute Psychiatric Inpatient Program are typically at great risk and can no longer be maintained safely in their communities. The program offers a safe, structured living environment for children while they receive needed professional supervision and interventions. Family involvement in the evaluation and treatment process is a program priority. Family members are encouraged to visit often and to participate in therapeutic meetings. The program goals are to help children regain safe and effective functioning, prepare children for re-entry into their homes and communities, and provide practical coordination of resources for continuing care.
Child & Adolescent Residential Treatment Programs
Shodair Children’s Hospital provides two developmentally specific residential treatment programs for children and adolescents. Each program provides a safe, therapeutic, and nurturing environment to promote positive change.
- The 20-bed middle school residential program provides psychiatric treatment for middle school-aged youths ages 12 to 14.
- The adolescent residential treatment unit (ages 15 to 18) has a capacity to provide care for up to 24 adolescents.
The Jack Casey Therapeutic Group Home offers long-term care for children ages 6 to 10 in a home-like environment. Children either attend Helena Public Schools or Shodair’s Day Treatment Program.
Yellowstone is a program designed to serve up to 20 children, ages 12-14. Most patients stay in Yellowstone for two to three months. Treatment for each child is individualized to meet the needs of the individual and family, so length of stay may vary based on needs.
Patient Care Coordinator: Jacob Souza
Phone number: 406-444-7550
Glacier is a program with 24 beds and is for adolescents aged 14-18. Most patients stay in Glacier for about two to four months, but the length of time may change depending on many factors. Your child’s treatment team will keep you informed about the length of stay and discharge planning.
Program Director: Chris Fern, CTRS
Phone number: 406-444-1031
Each residential treatment unit is staffed by a full-time fellowship trained child and adolescent psychiatrist, master’s prepared child and family therapists, a program director, complementary nursing staff, recreation therapists, a music therapist, and teachers. Consultations are provided by a neuropsychologist, speech and language therapist, nutritionist, and occupational therapist. History and physical examinations and additional consultative medical services are provided by FNPs trained in pediatrics and internal medicine.
The Psychiatric Residential Treatment team at Shodair Children’s Hospital emphasizes comprehensive biopsychosocial evaluations, child-centered family therapy, and collaboration with parents, community providers, and educators.
The length of stay in residential care depends upon the severity of illness, diagnostic complexity, and family and community resources. The goal for each child is to help them return to their community as soon as they are able to participate safely in a comprehensive treatment program in their home environment.
Allied Therapy Department
The Allied Therapy Department provides therapeutic services in collaboration with all the disciplines at Shodair Children’s Hospital that promote the well-being of children by focusing on their strengths and supporting character development to create a positive vision for their future.
Shodair is committed to fostering growth and change by allowing our patients to experience distressing emotions in a safe, nonjudgmental environment while working to maintain a democratic approach to therapeutic services so that patients feel empowered to make choices regarding their own treatment.
Each child is given the opportunity to partake in a range of therapeutic activities offered by the Allied Therapy Department. Our department includes recreation therapy, music therapy, and activities.
Shodair Children’s Hospital employs four full-time certified therapeutic recreation specialists (CTRS). Each unit at Shodair has a “home unit therapist” who facilitates group therapy. The children see a CTRS at least once a day, seven days a week.
Therapeutic recreation is an active treatment offered in a group setting that works to improve the health and well-being of children through leisure and recreation. Based on the specific needs of the patient, recreation specialists develop creative and instructive groups that are focused on:
- Cognitive stimulation
- Social skills
- Leisure education
- Coping skills
- Symptom management
- Adventure therapy
- Stress management
- Exercise/physical fitness
- Community reintegration
- Problem solving
Our therapists work with an interdisciplinary team to help children reach individualized goals. Participation in recreation therapy groups improves children’s social skills; decision making and judgment; frustration tolerance; ability to handle conflict; use of coping skills; and appropriate expression of feelings, all while building their individual strengths.
These skills will encourage patients to be an active participant in their life while promoting healthy choices and building lifelong skills.
Shodair Children’s Hospital employs a full-time music therapist (MT-BC) who works with all of the children, leading group therapy and individual one-on-one sessions. The children see the MT-BC at least once a week, and one-on-one sessions by physician’s order.
Music therapy is an active treatment that works to improve the health and well-being of children through music. Based on the specific needs of the patient, the music therapist works with the children to facilitate:
- Awareness of thoughts and feelings
- Safely expressing feelings
- Acquisition of self-control
- Positive changes in mood
- Developing coping skills
- Learning problem-solving skills
- Improving social skills
- Experiencing the feeling of being needed and wanted by others
- Improvement in focus and concentration skills
- Feeling more confident
- Learning to take positive risks
- Increased motivation
- Increased verbal and nonverbal skills
- Improvement in relationships
- Reduction of stress
- Anxiety management
The music therapist works with the interdisciplinary team to help children reach their treatment plan goals. These skills will encourage patients to be an active participant in their life while promoting healthy choices and building lifelong skills to enhance their futures.
Activities assistants not only support the recreation therapists on staff, they also lead any number of groups throughout the day. It is their responsibility and goal to transfer and repeat many of the skills taught by recreation therapists to help patients pattern good habits into their daily lives.
The AA crew also runs recreation-based special events. They help patients try on tuxedos for the Shodair Prom, run special monthly activities such as Survivor and The Shodair Olympics, lead outings, and help improve patients’ creations for our Iron Chef competition.
Additionally, activities assistants provide instruction and coaching on Shodair’s Challenge Course. This challenging, trust-based environment opens patients up for development through their own vulnerability. Further, the Challenge Course provides ample opportunity for objective-driven education. Challenge Course staff connect group goals and objectives to different activities throughout the experience by posing questions that prompt self-reflection and teamwork. A group debriefing at the end of each session provides reflection on lessons learned and experience gained through the elements completed that day.
Shodair Outpatient Services is an outpatient center that provides psychiatric care for patients and families. Child and adolescent psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, registered dietitians, clinical psychologists, and licensed therapists provide care at the outpatient center. There are plans to provide more services in the future.
The outpatient center is located within the existing Shodair Hospital building at 2755 Colonial Drive. The center is located in the lower level of the hospital. There is a separate entrance and parking lot south of the main entrance on Colonial Drive. The outpatient center is open Monday through Friday. Each provider has a different schedule so that we can offer a variety of times to provide care to children, adolescents, and families.
Appointments can be made by calling 406-444-1125 and a voicemail will need to be left if outside of operating hours.
Access to Shodair psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and therapists is an important part of treatment. In-person contact is preferred, but the distances of Montana often make that difficult.
VSee is a video conferencing software Shodair uses to allow for therapy sessions and medication management meetings from remote locations. The software can be used from computers or smart phones. The link for computer install is below. For smartphones, search for “VSee” at the app store and install.
Computer Install Link: setup.vsee.com/getting_started
Frequently Asked Questions: vsee.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/sections/201078465-Frequently-Asked-Questions
Spiritual Services and Canine Assistant
Meet Blue Bonnet, a 2-year-old golden retriever who became an employee of Shodair in April 2018. Blue serves as Shodair’s facility dog and was brought to the hospital from a facility called Canine Assistants. The nearly $25,000 cost of Blue was covered through fundraising with Children’s Miracle Network partner Spirit Halloween. Blue is the first dog the Canine Assistants organization has placed in a children’s psychiatric hospital.
Blue comes to work every day with her owner, Trish Dick, who provides spiritual services at Shodair. Dick, who has her degree in ecopsychology, spends her days with Blue making a difference in the day-to-day lives of Shodair’s patients.
Blue wasn’t trained with commands and isn’t trained to do things like open doors. Instead, her two years of training were emotional-based and emphasized bonding. Her daily goal is to make patients and staff happy.
“Dogs love people. They don’t hold grudges, they forgive. They love unconditionally, and Shodair kids need that unconditional love.” – Trish Dick
Read about a day in the life of Blue: Click here