Connect with us

Local News

Billings family plans 1,000+ mile travel for OCD treatment



Billings, Montana – Claire Hamnes, age eight, adores her family, athletics, Pokémon, and drawing. She recently learned how to play “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” on the electronic keyboard her grandma gave her. She is gregarious, humorous, and outgoing.

She also frequently finds it difficult to put on her clothing in the morning due to the way they feel on her. Claire’s mother, Nichole Hamnes, stated that getting her clothes on some mornings before school can take up to forty-five minutes. Erik, Claire’s father, noted that Claire feels there is too much static in the clothes.

“At her worst, she couldn’t look at her clothes and how they were arranged,” Nichole said on Sunday.

Claire suffers from severe attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, oppositional defiant disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Nichole claimed that her daughter’s obsessions and anxiety had only gotten worse, despite the fact that she first displayed signs of OCD at a very young age.

“She started voicing a lot of concerns with sensory issues at about 2.5 years old,” she said. “It’s really hard to follow her rules because hers is ‘just right OCD’ and so, whatever her brain is telling her is just right is the rule we have to follow.”

Although Claire’s parents claim that taking medicine and going to telemedicine therapy sessions has helped, this summer has seen a worsening of her mental state. In order to assist their daughter, her parents therefore began looking for treatment centers. The closest thing they could find was Rogers Behavioral Health, a residential treatment facility in Wisconsin.

“Our state and even some of the surrounding states don’t have any real programs,” Nichole said. “There are really no other programs in this country that take children as young as her. It’s kind of our only option.”

Claire was only seven years old when the Hamnes family discovered Rogers Behavioral Health this summer, despite the fact that the facility takes kids as young as eight. When Claire turned eight last month, Nichole said they were instructed to get in touch with the mental health treatment center right away. If they did, they would be put at the head of the waiting list for treatment. Though they were informed in late November that it would take an additional two to three months until a spot came up, Nichole and Claire had anticipated being in Wisconsin by the end of December.

The whole family finds this waiting time difficult. Nichole will accompany Claire on her drive to Wisconsin, where she will remain throughout Claire’s medical care.

Claire said she was “sad and mad” when she found out she couldn’t go to Rogers Behavioral Health as soon as she thought she could. She said she wants to go “to get help.”

“It’s six to eight weeks, but from what I’ve heard online from other parents their child has been there upwards of three and a half months,” Nichole said.

The majority of Claire’s time at Rogers will be paid for by insurance, but Nichole and her daughter will not be lodging there. As a result, Nichole’s living expenses must be met by the family while Claire is receiving therapy. To help with the expenses of travel and lost income that Nichole will incur while her daughter receives treatment, the family has set up a GoFundMe page.

“The fact that we don’t have these resources within our state is just devastating,” Nichole said.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *