The Rural Mental-Health Preparation/Practice Pathway (RMHP4)

University of Montana & Montana State University Partnering to Address Mental-Health Needs

Providing Mental Health Services to Rural Montana


RMHP4 is a federally funded grant program designed to prepare counselors for Montana’s rural schools and communities.

Through the formation of an innovative partnership composed of: 1) the Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI), 2) the Montana State University (MSU) Department of Health & Human Development (HHD), 3) the MSU Center for Research on Rural Education (CRRE), 4) the University of Montana (UM) Department of Counselor Education, and 5) our state agency partners (Montana School Counselor Association (MSCA); Montana Rural Education Association (MREA); Montana Small Schools Alliance (MSSA), we are working to improve the preparation, retention, and overall numbers and effectiveness of rural school-based mental health service professionals for rural and remote contexts. 

The RMHP4 is a cohort model that prepares  graduate counseling candidates to participate and serve as counselors in rural communities. The graduate candidates are provided with preparation, a professional learning environment, and supervision to create sustainable and supportive mental health services in rural Montana. 

Our goal is to:

  • Increase the number of counselors in rural schools and communities from 3.7 per year to 10
  • Create a long-term sustainable model for best practice in preparation of rural mental health services in Montana and beyond. 
  • Foster safety and support in rural schools and communities for all community members. 

Resources for Graduate Counseling Candidates

Through the grant, counseling students will be prepared and placed in rural schools across Montana as an integral part of their graduate counseling training. This multi-step preparation pathway will include:

  • Rural Life Orientation Training
    • Transportation, lodging, and meals provided
  • Rural Professional Practicum
    • $1200 stipend and counseling supplies provided
  • Rural Counseling Internship
    • $1200/month stipend, lodging, and travel provided
  • Rural School and Community Counseling
    • $12,000 post-degree stipend provided

*The RMHP4 Grant does not provide tuition.

How to Get Involved

How to become a counseling candidate:

  1. Contact a program coordinator (listed below)
  2. Apply to the University of Montana and/or Montana State University's graduate counseling programs.
    1. University of Montana's Graduate Counseling Program
    2. Montana State University Graduate Counseling Program
  3. Complete the application for the RMHP4 Cohort during the Spring semester of your first year

How to get a counseling candidate to your community:

  • Getting Started: Prospective Rural Supervisors& Rural School Sites
    • If you are a school counselor in a rural district and would like to have a counseling intern placed in your school, of if you are a licensed counseling supervisor and would like to provide supervision for a counselor-in-training in a rural district, please contact a Montana State University or University of Montana program coordinator. 
    • Supervisors will also receive compensation of $100 on average per weekly supervision session.

Additional Information and Resources

Program Coordinators

Dr. Kirsten Murray
University of Montana

Dr. Rebecca Koltz
Montana State University