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'Inch by Inch' diabetes program available

Registration is now being accepted for “Inch by Inch,” a 12-month nutrition and physical activity course that focuses on the prevention of diabetes and heart disease through lifestyle change. The course is offered through St. Peter’s Hospital Clinical Nutrition department.

Classes meet weekly, beginning the week of Jan. 29. There are three class days and times to choose from: Mondays, noon-1 p.m.; Tuesdays, noon-1 p.m.; or Wednesdays, 5:30-6:30 p.m., at St. Peter’s Hospital.

Classes are open to those who meet eligibility requirements of being overweight, taking medication for high cholesterol or blood pressure, have above target cholesterol or blood sugar levels, previously diagnosed with gestational diabetes, or have had a baby that weighed 9 pounds or more. Participants cannot have diabetes or be in active chemotherapy or dialysis treatment. A provider referral is required.

The cost is $75, of which $50 is refundable upon completion of the class. Medicaid eligible participants can attend for free.

For more information on how to qualify and enroll, call 444-2386 and speak with Yvonne Tapper-Gardzina or Tolly Patten.

New support program careMpower upcoming

Helena Community Connections continues its new Bridges program called careMpower for volunteer caregivers to share with other volunteer caregivers. Hear presentations on caregiver self-care as well as tips and ideas for caring for others. CareMpower occurs the second Wednesday of every month from noon-1:30 p.m. at Covenant United Methodist Church, 2330 E. Broadway. The Jan. 10 program will feature LaDawn Whiteside, Montana Lifespan Respite Coalition, who will speak about caregiver resolutions. Phone program chair, Alyce, at 458-8144 for more information or visit Lunch is included. Call AARP at 877-926-8300 to reserve your lunch no later than Monday, Jan. 8.

Caregivers support group 

Big Sky Caregivers Connect invites family caregivers to join other caregivers in a relaxed and friendly caregivers support group. Professionally led, caregivers share experiences, learn from one another and glean information. The group meets monthly on the fourth Wednesday, Dec. 27, at noon, for one hour at Touchmark, 915 Saddle Drive. No cost or registration required. Bring a brown bag lunch. Beverages provided. For rapid reimbursement of respite care expenses for your care recipient, phone DPHHS at 234-6054. To make arrangements for complementary respite care at Touchmark during the support group meeting, phone 449-4900. Call Bev at 475-4261 for questions. Or, visit for detail about Helena Community Connections’ Bridges programs.

Red Cross seeks blood donations

With the busy holiday season approaching, the American Red Cross encourages donors to give blood now to help ensure a sufficient supply for patients this winter.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, many regular donors delay giving due to holiday activities and travel. This often decreases the amount of donated blood available for patients. 

To make an appointment to donate blood, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App from app stores, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Prepare for your donation day by getting a good night's sleep, eating a nutritious meal the night before and drinking extra fluids.


  • Dec. 27: 10:30 a.m.-2:45 p.m., Lewis & Clark Public Library, 120 S. Last Chance Gulch
  • Dec. 27: 1-6 p.m., Helena Blood Donation Center, 3150 N. Montana Ave., Ste. B
  • Dec. 29: 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Helena Blood Donation Center, 3150 N. Montana Ave., Ste. B
  • Jan. 2: 1-6 p.m., Helena Blood Donation Center, 3150 N. Montana Ave., Ste. B
  • Jan. 3: 10 a.m.-2:15 p.m., Helena Industries, 1325 Helena Ave.

Grief support 

A grief support group open to anyone in the community meets the first and third Wednesday of the month, 4:30-5:30 p.m., at the Compassus Hospice Bereavement Center, at 1075 N. Rodney (facing Bedford Street). For information, call 442-2214.

Dementia caregiver support group available

Dementia and Alzheimer’s caregiver support group meets at Touchmark on the third Monday of each month at 7 p.m. Respite care is available for loved ones. Touchmark is located at 915 Saddle Drive. For more information, call 449-4900. 

Gentle Ways class ongoing

Gentle Ways is offered every Tuesday morning from 9:30-10:30 at 2330 E. Broadway and is a yoga-related exercise, strengthening, stretching and balancing program for all. The program is free and no registration is required. Workshop is led by retired yoga practitioners. Gentle Ways is offered in a relaxed environment. Contact Sandee at 442-1685 or visit for more information about Helena Community Connections’ Bridges programs.

NAMI family support group

NAMI family support group for family members and friends of persons living with a serious mental illness meets on the third Wednesday of every month from 6:30-8 p.m. at the MHA Building, 2625 Winne Ave. Call 461-1168 for more information.

NAMI peer support group

The NAMI peer support group for persons living with mental illness meets from 7-8:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. The group meets at Our Place Drop-In Center, 631 N. Last Chance Gulch. Call 443-7871 for more information.

Narcotics Anonymous

Daily Narcotics Anonymous meetings are also offered. Meetings are listed at and at

For those who are affected by someone else’s addiction, Alanon and Alateen are offered throughout the week at varying times. Schedules for these meetings in the Helena area are available at

Reiki Circle welcomes all

Healing Light Reiki is offering free Reiki treatments during our Reiki Circle at 6260 Head Lane, on the third Wednesday of every month from 7-9:30 p.m. No need to call ahead, just stop in. Reiki practitioners of all levels and those who wish to experience Reiki in a group setting are welcome. Offered through light touch, Reiki is gentle, non-invasive and profound in its capacity to enhance the body's natural ability to heal itself and is a powerful approach to reduce stress, promote wellness, strengthen the immune system, relieve pain and increase as well as balance the body's energy. 

For details, call/text/email Jay Pocius at 431-8477, or visit

Elevate Montana hosts ACEs presentations

Elevate Montana hosts monthly Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) presentations at the Lewis & Clark Library, 120 S. Last Chance Gulch, the last Thursday of every month from 6-7:30 p.m. This is a free community event. Elevate Montana is a statewide, grassroots movement dedicated to building a resilient and connected Helena community. We strive to raise awareness about Adverse Childhood Experiences, their long-term health effects, the power of resiliency in overcoming ACEs and creating a more compassionate and connected community.

Elevate Montana also hosts monthly screenings for the documentary “Resiliency” at St. Paul’s Methodist Church in the Fireside Room in Susanna's Place (next to the church) the first Thursday of every month from 6:15-8 p.m. This is a free community event.

Al-Anon Fourth Friday speaker meeting

Al-Anon (family and friends of problem drinkers) First Friday speaker meeting has changed its meeting date to the fourth Friday of the month. The group will continue to meet upstairs at the First Presbyterian Church on Rodney Street and 11th Avenue. The meeting features a special guest speaker at 8 p.m. All are welcome.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Every day of the week, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are offered throughout the day in the Helena area. Some meetings offer daycare, others are specifically for men or women. All meetings and details about each meeting offered in the Helena area are listed at as well as

Caregivers support group

Big Sky Caregivers Connect invites family caregivers to join other caregivers in a relaxed and friendly support group. Professionally led, caregivers share experiences, learn from one another and glean information. The group meets monthly on the fourth Wednesday of the month for one hour at Touchmark, 915 Saddle Drive. No cost or registration required. Bring a brown bag lunch. Beverages provided. For rapid reimbursement of respite care expenses for your care recipient, phone DPHHS at 234-6054. To make arrangements for complementary respite care at Touchmark during the support group meeting, phone 449-4900. Call Bev at 475-4261 for program information.

Take Off Pounds Sensibly 

The group meets every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Susanna Place, 502 Logan St., room 104. TOPS is the original nonprofit, noncommercial network of weight-loss support groups and wellness education organization.

Overeaters Anonymous

Overeaters Anonymous meetings are offered at Susanna’s Place, 512 Logan St. Saturday's meeting is at 9 a.m. in room 104; Monday's meeting is at 7 p.m. in room 204; Thursday's meetings are at noon and 7 p.m. in room 204. For more information, call 461-7798.

Cancer survivors support group

The Circle of Hope Cancer Survivors Support Group meeting takes place at noon on the first and third Wednesday at The Survivor's Boutique, 1054 Helena Ave. This meeting is open to women of all ages with all types of cancer. Bring a sack lunch and come share your experiences in a safe, confidential meeting with other survivors. For more information, call 422-0898.

Mid-Day meditation

Join LuAnn Whale on Thursdays at 12:10 p.m. for a free weekly 40-minute mid-day mediation class. Located in the private and peaceful downstairs studio at 40 Hibbard Way (the rear door is between the Parrot and Miller's Coin) you will have the opportunity to let go, relax and allow her to guide and teach you new ways of working with the mind, body and spirit. This class is designed to open the heart, to clear the mind and to rejuvenate the body for increased over all well-being. Guided meditation assists in stress relief and improves focus and concentration and inspires creativity. In this class we will use the breath and guided visualization to energize the body, to calm and clarify the mind.

Spouse, family of veterans support group

The group meets at 10 a.m. on Thursdays at the Fort Harrison Group House. You are not alone. An opportunity for people to join others in the same situation and share experiences. 

Free blood pressure checks 

Free blood pressure checks are offered in the main lobby at St. Peter's Hospital, 2475 Broadway, on Mondays from 1-4 p.m. For more information, call 444-2130.

Flu shots available at Safeway, Osco pharmacy

Albertsons/Osco Pharmacy at 3151 N. Montana Ave., and Safeway Pharmacy at 611 N. Montana Ave., are providing flu shots on a walk-in basis to patients 12 years of age and older. Both stores have high dose flu vaccine for patients 65 and older, that is four times more potent than standard flu vaccine. For all other patients, we have quadrivalent flu vaccine that covers four different strains of flu, instead of three strains with the typical flu shot. The pharmacies are able to electronically bill most insurances at the time of vaccination, and flu shots have no co-pay for patients with Medicare Part B, Tricare, federal employee and state employee insurances. The pharmacies are also providing vaccinations for pneumonia (Prevnar and Pneumovax), tetanus with whooping cough, hepatitis A and B, and Zostavax for shingles. All patients receiving a vaccine will also be given a 10 percent off coupon for groceries on up to a $200 purchase at Albertsons or Safeway. Please call 449-2295 for questions or to schedule vaccination clinics for large groups.

Health department offering flu shots

Flu shots are available at the health department’s regular walk-in immunization clinics Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 1930 Ninth Avenue. No appointment is needed.

The department can bill all insurance providers, so bring insurance information with you. Options are also available for those without insurance. Wear short or loose sleeves to make immunization easier.

In the United States, flu season usually begins in October and can last until May. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body to develop immunity.

For more information, contact the health department at 457-8900.

Suicide survivors group meetings

Helena-based nonprofit Breathe, Let's Start a Conversation and the East Helena Suicide Prevention & Awareness Coalition are offering three support groups to suicide loss survivors in Helena and East Helena each month. The support groups will be held during the first Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of each month as follows:

Helena: First Tuesday from 6:30-8 p.m. at St. Peter's Hospital in the education room, 2475 E. Broadway St. Doors open at 6 p.m., meeting starts promptly at 6:30.

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East Helena (For youth, 14 years old and up): First Wednesday from 6:30-8 p.m. at East Helena City Hall's Council Chambers, 306 E. Main St. Doors open at 6 p.m., meeting starts promptly at 6:30.

East Helena: First Thursday from 6:30-8 p.m. at East Helena City Hall's City Council Chambers, 306 E. Main St. Doors open at 6 p.m., meeting starts promptly at 6:30.

For more information, contact Jamie Eastwood at 406-437-4233 or visit the group's Facebook page at

Nar-Anon family group

Nar-Anon family group meets every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at 512 Logan St., room 200.

Nar-Anon family group step study

The step study group meets on Mondays from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at 512 Logan St., room 200.

Gamblers Anonymous meets

Gamblers Anonymous meets Mondays at 6 p.m. at the Wilson Hall, 511 N. Park. For more information, call 431-1663.

Open Access at Center for Mental Health

Open Access at The Center for Mental Health has same-day scheduling or walk-in appointments for people seeking immediate treatment and mental health care. Open Access intake appointments will be available every Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Call 443-7151 or go to the center during Open Access hours and staff at the center will accommodate individual needs accordingly. There may be times when individuals will not be able to access an appointment due to filled slots or lack of time. Given the situation, the center will ensure safety of the individuals. Bring in insurance cards and/or proof of finances to determine sources for payment.

Same day scheduling/walk-in appointments will dramatically decrease a person’s waiting time for initial assessment, evaluation and treatment. Doctor's referrals may be done at the same time as the assessment to expedite the process if necessary. Same-day discharge from an inpatient facility will have to be scheduled on another day.

Programs available to help adults with arthritis

Department of Public Health and Human Services officials say that more than one in four adult Montanans report having arthritis. Fortunately, there are programs in Montana to help address this issue.

The Montana Arthritis Program collaborates with sites across the state to implement the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, the Walk with Ease Program, the Enhance Fitness Program and the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program developed by Stanford University. Anyone is eligible to participate in these classes, which are held year round.

To find a class near you or more information about the Montana Arthritis Program, visit or contact Heather Welch at 444-0958 or

DPHHS offers ‘Health in the 406’ messages

The Department of Public Health and Human Services is introducing a new series of health messages called Health in the 406 that will focus on various public health topics designed to raise awareness and help Montanans live healthier lives.

There are numerous important public health issues that impact all of us, and the goal is to shed some light on those key areas where Montana is doing well, but also where improvements can be made, said State Medical Officer Dr. Greg Holzman.

Exercise focusing on leg strength and balance can prevent falls. And, there are free or low-cost exercise programs in Montana for adults with arthritis.

Anyone interested in receiving the Health in the 406 messages can go to

There will be a wide range of topics such as chronic pain, mental health and tobacco use, birth defects, colorectal screening and more. Comments or suggestions can be emailed to

American Indian Commercial Tobacco Quit Line now available

The Department of Public and Health and Human Services, with National Jewish Health and input from local American Indian tobacco prevention programs and various tribal public health officials across six states, has developed a new approach to help reduce tobacco use among American Indians.

The American Indian Commercial Tobacco Quit Line Program, the first of its kind in the country, is modeled after the highly successful DPHHS Montana Tobacco Quit Line.

The American Indian Commercial Tobacco Quit Line is available seven days a week, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at 1-855-372-0037. People can enroll online at

The new program has a dedicated call line where clients will be put in touch with an American Indian cessation coach. They will be offered 10 coaching calls, eight weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy and given the option of reduced cost cessation medication.







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