By ANNIE WASSAN/Montana State News
Sara Gothard comes home at 11:30 p.m. in her scrubs. She has just finished a shift at Hope House in Bozeman, and she is the on call nurse for the establishment.
She started working at Hope House in October 2016. According to Gothard, “Hope House is a place for people to go who are experiencing a mental health crisis.” She gets called in two to three times a week when someone needs psychiatric stabilization. She also has a full time job as a registered nurse at Bozeman Deaconess Health.
Hope House is part of the Gallatin Mental Health Center. According to their website, their mission is “to assist individuals and communities with the challenges of mental health, substance use and co-occurring disorders to achieve their highest quality of life.”
Sara grew up in Southern California, and obtained her nursing degree from Boston College in 2013. She chose to go to nursing school during high school, when she was looking for colleges to go to. She decided to moved to Bozeman in 2014 for a change of pace.
“I came up with a list of things that made me happy, and it led me to Montana,” she says.
In her free time, Sara is found fly fishing rain or shine. She also spends a good amount of time with her horse, Bix, and dog, Nash.
Sara has a sincere passion about mental health. She feels that places like Hope House need to be established around the country to help the thousands that do not have access to mental health help.
Ali Everts, a Montana State University student and E.R. technician said, “We need places like Hope House because hospitals and emergency rooms are not equipped to deal with long term mental health problems.”
“We see all types of people come to Hope House. Some are College students and some are mothers or fathers. A mental illness can affect anyone at any time.” Gothard says.
Gothard explains that at the end of President Kennedy’s term, a large number of mental health hospitals were shut down. This caused an increase of homeless and jail populations. Most of these were veterans that desperately needed mental health care. To this day, there are still a large number of people that do not have access to mental health care.
“Even though hope house is only a 10 bed facility, we will embrace anyone that need services. Working at hope house is more than a supplemental income to me, because it’s just something that I believe in, and hope it will be part of a movement towards more widespread recognition of greater access to mental health care,” Gothard says.
Gothard would like to continue working at hope house, and possibly go back to school to get her masters of science in nursing.
– Edited by Jenny Bryan