Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
2024 Montana Primary elections

Grant Will Fund Suicide Prevention Program In Montana Schools

Alcohol, drug and suicide (combined) deaths per 100,000 people in 2017.
National Center for Health Statistics, CDC
Alcohol, drug and suicide (combined) deaths per 100,000 people in 2017.

Montana’s state health department has received a $2.1 million grant for a game for school kids. Zoe Barnard with the department explains.

"It teaches teachers how to have fun with their classrooms, while encouraging kids to help each other show positive peer interactions and be emotionally stable."

That may sound touchy-feely, but, Barnard says, "The PAX Good Behavior Game is an evidence-based intervention that’s been used all over the United States. It’s one of the best interventions for suicide prevention and substance use disorder prevention out there, and that’s because it’s repetitive, which is one of the key variables to building habits, and building circuitry in the brain."

Suicide prevention is serious business in Montana. Barnard says that 2017 data shows that, "One in five high school students reported being suicidal in the last year, and suicide has become the number one cause of preventable death for children ages 10-14 in Montana."

The grant Montana got is to train teachers in the Good Behavior Game, and Barnard says it will probably cover as many teachers as want to apply for it. The deadline to apply is June 28.

Find details about the grant here.

Interested public or private schools or community coalitions can submit a grant proposal online here.

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.
Become a sustaining member for as low as $5/month
Make an annual or one-time donation to support MTPR
Pay an existing pledge or update your payment information
Related Content