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Behavioral Health Options

The Behavioral Health Options Program (formally SOS) works with students to address behaviors that are making it difficult for them to reach their goals or behaviors that are negatively affecting those around them. Our mission is to educate and motivate students to address these high-risk behaviors.

We design group programs targeting risky substance use behavior for students. These programs are led by trained interns or professionals and satisfy the requirements for many court mandated or university mandated sanctions. We also offer formal behavioral assessments.

We are located in Curry Health Center Counseling through the West entrance, downstairs.  To schedule an appointment, call 406-243-2290.

Options Program Description

Phase 1 ASTS: Alcohol Skills Training Seminar & Class (ASAM .5)

Intended for first campus write-ups or first MIP’s (minor in possession of alcohol). This non-confrontational, harm reducing approach helps students reduce their alcohol consumption and decrease the health, academic, and social risks associated with it. When referenced with the American Society of Addictive Medicine (ASAM) patient placement criteria, this is a Level .5 early intervention program. 

  • ASTS class: This 2-hour multi-media presentation teaches students the skills and information necessary to better manage their substance use. 
  • ASTS Seminar: This 3-hour seminar follows the ASTS class and provides students an opportunity to discuss how they handle the “culture of drinking” and other drug use that surrounds college campuses. 
  • Cost: $80.00

Phase 2 BASICS (ASAM .5)

Intended for second offenses whether it be a campus write-up or a MIP. For second MIP offenders it is possible to take Phase 2 only when the referring judge does not require a chemical dependency evaluation (Behavioral Health Options does NOT provide CD evaluations).  Based on the model "Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students," this program provides personalized feedback on risk factors. Participants have the opportunity to examine the benefits and drawbacks substances have on their lives and learn sensible ways to deal with it. This is an ASAM level .5 motivational enhancement program.

  • Individual Sessions: Two sessions with an Options counselor
  • Group: Six group sessions, 1½ hours each. Typically the group meets once per week, for six weeks, though sometimes an alternative schedule is arranged (two group meetings a week for three weeks)
  • Cost: $140.00

Phase 3 Outpatient Counseling (ASAM 1.0)

Intended for students referred to outpatient treatment and for those who seek assistance on their own accord. Students may be referred to Phase 3 for third offenses (campus write-up or MIP). For example, this will meet the requirements of those referred by the ACT or MDD program for (ASAM) “level 1” counseling. Students will meet with a Behavioral Health Options counselor to determine a treatment plan, which will include individual and group counseling:

  • Individual Sessions: Three sessions with an Options counselor to determine a treatment plan, which will include group treatment (either the Setting Limits or Early Recovery group)
  • Setting Limits Group: Students develop practical strategies to adjust and better manage their use of alcohol and other drugs. This counseling group meets weekly, for eight sessions and will help students develop the skills necessary to stay within self-imposed limits. 
  • Early Recovery Group: Whether for a month or a lifetime, this group helps students create a lifestyle free of alcohol or other drugs. Meets weekly. A minimum commitment for eight weeks is required though participants can continue throughout the course of the semester(s) if desired. 
  • Cost: $150.00 

Student FAQs

What happens if I don’t go to Behavioral Health Options?

The University holds students accountable for their actions. Those who don’t take care of their disciplinary sanctions are not allowed to register for classes. A "hold" is placed on their University account and is removed only when they have completed the Behavioral Health Options program. Students are advised to take their Conduct Code sanctions seriously from the beginning and address them in a timely fashion.

How do I remove the hold on my registration so I can get the classes I want?

Complete the Behavioral Health Options program. We will work with you to get you through the program as quickly as possible, but don’t wait too long as appointments fill toward the end of the semester and you’ll miss your opportunity to register early.

I want to drop a class, but can’t because of the Options hold. What do I do?

Contact Behavioral Health Options.  Once you have scheduled an appointment, you will be able to drop your class, but the hold will remain until you complete the program.

What if it’s semester break, I can’t register because of a Behavioral Health Options hold, and I can’t get back to campus to complete Behavioral Health Options?

You will either need to make the necessary arrangements to return to campus early and complete the program, or complete it the first few weeks of the semester and register late for classes. Completing a comparable program in your hometown during the break is an option. Contact the Behavioral Health Options coordinator to make arrangements.

What if I withdrew from school, no longer live in Missoula, and can’t get a refund because of the hold?

Contact Behavioral Health Options. If you were sanctioned to Behavioral Health Options, the University still expects you to attend an intervention program in your hometown. Until you do complete a program, you will have to contact the Behavioral Health Options coordinator every time you want to do business with the University, whether that is a refund, sending a transcript, or paying for classes.

What if I get written up on campus and then get an MIP a week later downtown? Can Phase 1 take care of both?

No, you will need to complete both Phase 1 and Phase 2, even if the judge says Phase 1 will count for the MIP.  You can take care of your MIP class elsewhere if you wish. Just make arrangements with Behavioral Health Options to transfer your referral paperwork.

Parent FAQs

Why might my son or daughter be attending Behavioral Health Options?

Behavioral Health Options or a comparable education/prevention program is mandated by the university when students have an alcohol or other drug student conduct code violation. The judicial system requires an MIP program when a person under the age of 21 is issued a Minor In Possession of alcohol, or MIP.

My student was "written-up" in the Residence Hall. What does this mean?

If your student has violated the drinking laws of Montana and/or the Student Conduct Code, he or she will be required to complete alcohol and drug intervention programs or attend counseling (drug offenses are subject to students losing their federal financial aid). 

How do I prevent this from becoming a problem for my student in college?

Prevention works.  Have a conversation with your student about alcohol use before they come to school.  Make sure they're aware of the laws and the consequences of drinking underage and driving under the influence.  Be sure to remind them that alcohol is toxic and over doing it (even once) can lead to very serious health problems or even death.  The same is true for drug use. Here some other ideas:

  • Mind the amount of spending money you allow your student to have. 
  • Remind your student that education is the first priority in college. 
  • Help them find hobbies.  
  • Encourage them to be active in campus life or in the Missoula community. 
  • Be wary of the college stories you tell in front of them.  They're listening and will likely use your experiences as a frame of reference for what they should be doing. 
  • Stay in touch with what your student is doing.  Ask questions.  A good conversation starter is, "How are you balancing your social time and study time?" If you are worried about someone, say something.  You don't have to wait until there is a full blown drinking or drug "problem" to speak up.

Can I require my student to go to drug/alcohol counseling or testing?

Whether your student attends counseling is between you and your student.  We cannot seek out your student and require that they attend Behavioral Health Options counseling.  We would be happy to advise you on ways to discuss your concerns with your student. The University does not provide drug tests or BAC screenings, either.  If you or the judicial system would like reports on your student's drug use, contact Saint Patrick Hospital or Turning Point Mental Health Center (406- 532-9800) to obtain these services.

Why can't I discuss my student's records with the Health Center?

Your student's medical records are confidential, and that includes the Behavioral Health Options program. While we can speak with you about the way our program works, we cannot disclose any information relating to your student in particular. This includes whether or not he or she is enrolled in the program. We can, however, discuss your student's case with their written consent. 

Faculty FAQs

How can I help a student that appears to be struggling with alcohol or other drugs?

A sudden change in a student's performance may indicate a drug or alcohol problem or another mental health concern.  If you notice a student suddenly withdrawing from class discussion or missing classes, express your concern to that student.  Let them know that counseling and substance abuse services are available at Curry Health Center. 

Is there anything I can do in the classroom for substance abuse prevention?

Do your part in the classroom to encourage safe party habits.  Encourage students to attend alcohol-free events on campus as you become aware of them.  At the end of a Friday lecture remind students to use a designated driver if they choose to drink over the weekend or to use the free UDASH bus that shuttles students between campus and downtown every half hour.

Should I excuse students from my class when they have a Behavioral Health Options appointment?

Behavioral Health Options does not provide written excuses for students to miss class.  It is the student's responsibility to schedule their appointments outside of class time.  However, students who missed class due to a crisis appointment may present with a memo from Curry Health Center signed by a provider.