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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Suicide Prevention Remains A Priority For DPHHS

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

As Montana’s Department of Public Health and Human Services faces a proposed $93 million dollars in budget cuts in the wake of  state revenue shortfalls, the department’s new director says she hopes to maintain efforts to combat Montana’s high suicide rate.

Newly appointed DPHHS Director Sheila Hogan says the department will continue to supply resources to address suicide rates in Montana that are some of the highest in the nation:

"It’s very important to the governor, and it’s very important to the governor and to individuals here. So we are just going to continue the direction and make sure we have all the resources to bare on this crisis in Montana."

When asked if budget cuts proposed by the Legislature could impact the department’s role at providing suicide prevention services, Hogan said she hoped not, but it added it will be unclear until lawmakers finalize and pass a budget.

She also said Montana’s HELP Act, which is funded in part by the Affordable Care Act, is important to providing behavioral health services important for people at risk of suicide.

President Donald Trump has said  he will repeal and replace the ACA, but Montana DPHHS Director Sheila Hogan says she is hopeful Montana’s HELP Act will say in place.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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