Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen and musician Jason DeShaw will be in Hamilton High School tomorrow to discuss the weighty topics of mental illness and suicide. According to OPI spokesman Dylan Klapmeier, Corvallis schools will also be attending the event, which is designed to curb an all too common tragedy.

"Montana unfortunately has one of the higher rates of suicide in the country," said Klapmeier. "There unfortunately have already been student suicides that we have seen this year, just in the first few months of the year in Montana. It is really awful. If we can prevent those, that is really what the goal is."

DeShaw is a country music star from eastern Montana, but has been touring high schools while discussing extremely personal issues like bipolar disorder and alcoholism.

"The cool thing about Jason is he is not just a talented singer, he also has a great story about mental health awareness and suicide prevention," Klapmeier said. "He shares his own story and his struggles with depression and how he has overcome those struggles through hope and perseverance."

After Hamilton, the next events will be in Browning, Libby and Lame Deer. Klapmeier says they try to get to all corners of the state, but admits it will take a long time to go to all of Montana’s 800 plus schools.

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