The successful melding of church and state has occurred in Montana with the opening of the ‘Faith and Community Based Services’ office inside the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.

KGVO reached out to Faith and Community Based services Coordinator Tracy Moseman for details.

“This new office was created at the first of the year, really to increase communication and coordination between the department and faith and community organizations across the state,” said Moseman. “It’s really serving as the liaison and the point of entry for faith and community organizations to call and reach out to with questions or needing resources or support.”

Moseman said the State of Montana acknowledges the fact that each Montana citizen has a spiritual dimension of his of her health.

“We know that the best practice in thinking about health is that spirituality is a component of health,” she said. Because it’s true that we have emotional health, mental health, physical health, and spiritual health is also a component. We also know that faith organizations across the state provide support to their congregations and to their members in all areas of health, and so it's really important to make sure that they have the tools and resources from the health department that they need in order to be able to serve Montanans in their community using best practices.”

Moseman said Montanans with physical and emotional problems often reach out to their pastors and spiritual advisors for help.

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“In the listening that we've been doing, we know that especially in rural Montana, but even in places like Helena and Missoula, faith leaders are oftentimes the social workers or the quasi social workers for not only their congregation but sometimes the whole community,” she said. “Nationally, we know that one in four people will actually go to their faith leader before they'll reach out for professional help in mental health and substance use.”

Moseman said faith leaders will readily and gratefully accept the professional help they can receive from the Montana DPHHS.

“But it really is critical that those faith leaders and community leaders that have boots on the ground and that are serving in that capacity, have access to resources and support so that they can support the people in their communities when they come forward with issues such as addiction, family violence, mental health, things like that.” she said.

Click here for details on how to contact the Faith and Community Based Services office in the Montana DPHHS.

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