Expanding access to mental-health resources

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With the recent cutback in mental-health services across the state and within the Flathead Valley, it was welcome news to hear Sweetgrass Psychiatric Services in Whitefish has expanded its staff and facility, and has plans to reach out to other rural areas in need of more services.

Sweetgrass founder Sara Boilen said she hopes to offer more mental-health resources in Libby and also is exploring the possibility of teaming up with rural communities to set up a scholarship-based program that could pay for a patient’s trips to and from the Whitefish facility. Boilen is looking into offering resources to other remote communities such as Choteau and Browning.

One of the services that sets Sweetgrass Psychiatric Services apart from other local agencies is its ability to provide mental-health assessments. That’s a crucial and necessary resource.

Boilen said her facility has managed to grow with wise budgeting and community support, but funding is a challenge and she hopes to eventually start a nonprofit arm of her agency. We believe there would be community support for such a nonprofit. The need for mental-health services is growing; we need more agencies, not fewer, in this arena to help people get the care they need.

Longtime Bigfork High School football coach Todd Emslie told the Inter Lake this week he is stepping away after 16 seasons on the sidelines. After suffering a heart attack last month, Emslie said he knew it was time to let go of his coaching duties.

Emslie’s remarkable career included an overall record of 102 wins, 48 losses — and of course Bigfork’s unforgettable run to the 2010 state championship title. Bigfork advanced to the playoffs 13 seasons under his guidance and were semifinalists four times.

And while Emslie’s gridiron achievements are notable, his influence went far beyond the trophy case. More importantly, his goal was to shape great young men on and off the field.

“I hope I will be remembered more than just a coach with wins or losses. With the kids I was around, I wanted to be a part of their lives,” Emslie said.

And that right there is what coaching is all about.

Congrats on the great career, coach.

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