Montana is one of the top states in the nation when it comes to suicide rates and the Department of Public Health and Human Services are making an effort to resolve that issue. Spokesman Jon Ebelt says the youth suicide numbers are especially startling.

“Among 10 to 25 year-olds the suicide rate is 62% above the national average, making it the leading cause of death in this age group,” said Ebelt. “Of native youth, 14 to 30 percent, ages 15 to 24 years old, attempt suicide. The rate of suicide completion in this age group is three and a half times higher than the rate experienced by non-native youth.”

According to Ebelt, Montana DPHHS joined forces with 75 individuals from across Montana representing Tribal Governments, Urban Indian Health Centers, Indian Health Service and the Montana State Legislature to help reduce and prevent American Indian Youth Suicide.

“It is creating a statewide infrastructure to help address native youth suicide,” Ebelt said. “It is about collaborating and bringing people together to share ideas, things that work, things that don’t work, so they can go back to their communities and expand this infrastructure and really make it more comprehensive.”

Montana Governor Steve Bullock applauds the Zero Suicide Academy for uniting to ensure that zero suicides in Montana can become a reality.