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Rimrock Foundation CEO to testify before Congress on pandemic's toll on mental health

Posted at 7:26 PM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 10:37:17-04

BILLINGS- The impact of Covid-19 is visible across our community and state every day, but it’s the non-visible damage left behind from the pandemic that will continue to impact our community for years to come.

That’s part of the message Lenette Kosovich, CEO of Rimrock Foundation, will take to Congress Wednesday. Kosovich will address the Senate Committee on Finance, Subcommittee on Health Care, at a hearing titled “The COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond: Improving Mental Health and Addiction Services in Our Communities.”

Her testimony will focus on the COVID impact in Billings and the region but will also discuss the long-term mental impacts.

She said as the CDC, World Health Organization, and mental health experts predicted, there would a tsunami of mental health and addiction treatment, and that's now playing out in communities.

“The one thing that we know is the long-term effect of a catastrophe like COVID, the mental effects will be far longer lasting than any physical effects. There's secondary trauma from it. I think we've all even had secondary trauma from COVID and just watching what's happened to our community to our loved ones or people we know," said Kosovich. “I would love to tell Congress that if the funding isn't there, the problem is going to get worse and it sounds like a threat or fear-based. But we've just seen what has happened over the last six, eight months in our own community, just devastating crimes happening, that we know are fueled by drugs."

Kosovich will also focus on testimony about a potential solution.

She will address Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, a program designed to provide a comprehensive range of mental health and substance-use disorder services that treat every aspect of a person's life.

It's a path Rimrock Foundation is now blazing in this region.

The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday May 12, and will begin at 1 p.m. Mountain time. The hearing will be in a virtual format.

You can go to that hearing: