Governor Bullock’s proposal to address youth suicide through community prevention grants had its first hearing today in the Montana Legislature. Governor Bullock has made it a priority in his budget to address youth suicide, and to build on current efforts to increase mental health access and coverage and expand community training and awareness.
“The challenge of addressing youth suicide in our state is a small price to pay to ensure that every young person knows their value – at school, at home, and in their communities,” said Governor Bullock. “We have the responsibility to do all we can to provide support for our communities and protect individuals of all ages from suicide.”
House Bill 590, sponsored by Representative Jessica Karjala, proposes to invest $1 million to provide suicide prevention grants to tribes, local governments, schools, health care providers, community organizations, and others. Grants will invest in community-based prevention efforts and strategies that are grounded in evidence.
At no cost to the general fund, grant funds will come from the Tobacco Trust Interest account to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. Grant funding will be prioritized to projects that address populations with higher rates of suicide, including Indian Country.
Last session, Governor Bullock signed a bill that implements suicide awareness and prevention training curriculums in Montana schools.
For a comprehensive review of Montana’s current efforts to prevent youth suicide, see the Healthy Communities Healthy Montana Suicide Prevention Framework.