Montana Public Radio

Suicide

Montana death rates from alcohol, drugs, and suicide in Montana from 2000 to 2020.
American Communities Project / https://www.americancommunities.org/chapter/how-montanas-despair-deaths-have-intersected-with-the-pandemics-isolation/

Research into nearly 200,000 Montana death records from the last two decades has put hard numbers to anecdotes about suicides and drug- and alcohol-related deaths during the pandemic.

The report, by University of Montana School of Journalism Professor Lee Banville, is published on the American Communities Project’s website and shows that death rates significantly increased in 2020 in communities categorized as "Graying America," "Native American Lands" and "Working Class Country."

The Senate veterans' affairs committee got an early progress report this week on a newly established program. Created by a new law, the program aims to help veterans struggling with their mental health.

Montana Air National Guard planes.
UNK - Montana Air National Guard

A U.S. Department of Defense report says the National Guard’s suicide rate is higher than its active duty and Reserve counterparts. DoD says there are several suicide risk factors in the military, including a cultural stigma surrounding psychological health care.

The Montana Air National Guard is testing out one of 23 pilot programs in the nation aimed at getting care to soldiers in new ways. MTPR’s Edward O’Brien introduces us to a career Montana military officer who, during one of her life’s darkest chapters, reached out for help and was thrown a lifeline.

Miserable looking man sitting looking though a window.
iStock

The state health department is expanding hours and staffing of phone lines for mental health therapy and suicide prevention. This comes amid a surge of requests from Montanans seeking emotional support during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Farming and ranching have always been considered risky. But more extreme weather events, low prices and uncertainty have led to higher rates of bankruptcy and suicide across the U.S. Recently 700 women ag producers gathered in locations across six western states to learn about ways to reduce stress on farms and ranches. 


Ten percent of Montana high school students say they’ve attempted suicide in the past year, according to a statewide survey released last month. The percentage of Montana highschoolers who report being depressed is at a 20 year high.


A program designed to address mental health awareness is coming to four high schools on the Flathead and the Rocky Boys Reservations this school year. It’s part of a co-institutional million-dollar grant between Montana State University Extension and Stone Child College.

Percentage of Suicides by Mechanism, Montana Residents, 2012-2016.
Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

"Montana persistently ranks in the top three states with the most youth who die by suicide, and their method of choice is overwhelmingly guns."

So starts an article in the latest edition of Montana Business Quarterly, put out by economists at the University of Montana. MTPR’s Kevin Trevellyan asked the article's author Daphne Herling why she wrote it.


The tribes on the Fort Belknap Reservation declared a state of emergency last Thursday over what the tribal president says is a suicide crisis.

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

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

Pages