Tribal Committee Disagrees With Montana DPHHS on Suicide Prevention Spending
The Montana State-Tribal Relations Committee met on Monday and agreed to write a letter of opposition concerning the way that Montana DPHHS is spending $250,00 in Indian Youth Suicide Prevention Grants from the 2015 legislature. According to committee chair Jonathan Windy Boy the money is either being misspent or not spent at all.
"We will still be having the same 250,000 still in the bank during the next legislator and the concern is because of the budgets, revenues are going to be cutting down from last time," said Windy Boy. "Trying to get some more funding for this purpose may be a lot slimmer and be pretty hard to argue that we have all this money we suspended and we didn't do anything so there must not be a need."
The Committee wants the money to be spent on direct grants to programs that are already in place, rather than the planned hiring of a contractor to form a strategic suicide prevention plan. Windy Boy hopes that DPHHS will report on which programs are successful during the next legislative session.
"The way I am understanding, and I agree with my committee members is that mainstream approached issues in Indian country is not really the same as it is to the rest of Montana," Windy Boy said. "What we wanted to do and what we wanted to see is to have programs and approaches that are outside the box."
Windy Boy says the State needs to focus on outside-the-box strategies that work rather than spending money on “government-to-government consultation.”