A week ago Tuesday, members of the Missoula County Sheriff's Office and a Seeley Lake school administrator appeared on Talk Back to raise awareness of youth suicide at a special assembly planned for the following week at Seeley lake Elementary School.

This Tuesday, Sheriff's Office Chaplain Lowell Hochhalter and a number of other law enforcement professionals presented two assemblies, one for the school children, and another for the parents later that evening.

Hochhalter said both assemblies were an absolute success.

"We brought the 'Say Something" assembly to Seeley lake Elementary that we've done all over the United States, but it was great to bring it home and do it in conjunction with the Sheriff's Office," Hochhalter said. "The kids responded phenomenally during the student assembly, and we had a fantastic turnout for the evening event with parents."

Hochhalter thanked Talk Back and KGVO for the exposure addressing the problem of suicide in teenagers and even elementary school students.

"The program that you did, pushing it out on your station and on Facebook, the people came out," he said. "To be honest, it was probably the greatest student to parent ratio turnout that we've ever had anywhere in the nation, and so that gives us a lot of hope. Th e conversations started, and it was emotional in all the right ways. It couldn't have gone any better."

Hochhalter said the reason for the 'Say Something' assemblies is to get permission to start the flow of communication for students, their friends and their parents.

"I had a father come up to me at the night event," he said. "He said 'I don't know what you guys talked about this morning, but my kid came home from school and he was crying, and wanted to sit down with my wife and I and explain to us about the feelings that he was having and we should talk about these things, and that's why I'm here tonight'.

Hochhalter said many parents expressed the same feelings at the evening presentation.

"Purely from that school assembly production and presenter side, that's the goal," he said. "I felt like when I walked out of there a winner, simply because of that."



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