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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Gianforte announces $2.1 million grant to expand suicide screening program

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Up to 40 percent of Montana middle and high schoolers will have access to suicide screening over the next two years. A bill to expand the service to all students recently failed to advance in the state Legislature.

Gov. Greg Gianforte’s office announced the $2.1 million grant Wednesday to expand the suicide screening program.

The Rural Behavioral Health Institute already receives state grant funds to screen 5,000 middle and high school students for suicide risk and provide same-day care for students deemed at high risk for suicide. The pilot program found about one in 10 students are at high risk for suicide.

Rural Behavioral Health Institute Executive Director Janet Lindow says schools are already expressing interest in the expanded program.

"This will allow us to reach up to 31,000 [students] by next fall. That’s a pretty significant ramp-up."

The grant comes after state lawmakers voted down a bill that would have offered the program to all middle and high schools and provide additional case management services for kids identified during screening.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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