Behavioral Health Options

The "Options" program provides services for students experiencing troubles associated with their substance use. Some students are required to take a program due to a student conduct or legal infraction. Others seek services on their own when substances interfere with their goals, values and relationships. All of our licensed addiction counselors are also licensed as mental health providers and will be able to help you develop and implement a plan to get your life back on track. Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic all the Options services will be conducted via telecounseling unless otherwise noted.

Options Program Description

Intended for first campus write-ups or first MIP’s (minor in possession of alcohol). This non-confrontational, harm-reducing approach helps students take a look at their substance use and explore ways to decrease the health, academic, and social risks associated. When referenced with the American Society of Addictive Medicine (ASAM) patient placement criteria, this is a Level .5 Early Intervention program. 

  • ASTS Quiz: This 20 question quiz is based on content from AlcoholEdu (a mandatory online program requirement for all incoming UM students) and is a tool to check for understanding of that information. Students are encouraged to reference AlcoholEdu before and while they take the quiz to refresh themselves on the information.
  • ASTS Seminar: This 3-hour seminar provides students an opportunity to discuss their experience with "drinking culture" and other drug use that surrounds college campuses.
  • Cost:  $100

Intended for second offenses whether it be a campus write-up or a MIP. For those with a second MIP, it is possible to participate in 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 associated with students' substance use. Participants have the opportunity to examine the benefits and drawbacks substances have on their lives and learn realistic ways to decrease risk. When referenced with the American Society of Addictive Medicine (ASAM) patient placement criteria, this is a level .5 Early Intervention program.

  • Individual Sessions: 6 sessions are available to students, however, only three are mandatory. The first two sessions typically are scheduled over a period of  2-3 weeks with the third session being scheduled approximately a month after the second session.
  • Cost:  $150.00

Intended for students needing "Level 1.0 Outpatient Treatment". Students may be referred to Phase 3 for third offenses (campus write-up or MIP) or from an ACT or MDD program. Students may also be self-referred. Your Behavioral Health Options counselor will collaborate with you to determine a treatment plan, which may include group counseling in addition to individual counseling. The following groups may be included as a part of the treatment plan:

  • Setting Limits Group: Students develop practical strategies to adjust and better manage their use of alcohol and other drugs. This group meets weekly, for eight sessions and will help students develop the skills necessary to stay within self-imposed limits. 
  • Sobriety Group: Whether for a month or a lifetime, this group helps students create a lifestyle free of alcohol or other drugs. The group meets weekly for a minimum of eight weeks though participants can continue throughout the course of the semester(s) if desired. 
  • Cost: $200.00 

Student FAQs

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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).

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.