Our community is healthier and more resilient due to a shift to a new collective mindset and understanding of behavioral health and mental well-being.
We empower donors, volunteers, businesses, governments, nonprofits, and community groups to invest in neighbors to improve quality of life for everyone here. Working together, we identify the community’s most critical needs and implement collaborative, innovative solutions to improve lives in Gallatin, Madison, Meagher and Park Counties
Shedding a light on the issue
- MT’s suicide rate is consistently double that of the U.S. as a whole and it is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 13 to 45 years (MT DPHHS)
- MT has the 2nd highest rate in the U.S. for alcohol related deaths (MT DPHHS)
- 1 in 4 people will experience mental illness during their lifetime (NAMI)
- MT has the 2nd highest rate of removal to foster care, with the majority of cases due to substance addiction/abuse (Chronicle of Social Change)
John called the 2-1-1 hotline. He knew he needed help. He was in the process of separating from his wife. She moved out and cut off all contact. He felt so sick from his distress was not sleeping. He shared that part of the reason they separated was because of his drinking, which had been a problem for several years. He stopped drinking when they separated, partly out of a hope that it would resolve their marital issues. He was sober for 2 months. He had tried sobriety a few years ago after a suicidal crisis. John said that he did not have a definite plan to kill himself now, but said that he did have access to a lot of guns and was struggling to not buy alcohol. He said he felt lost.
The Crisis Counselor (CC) validated his pain and acknowledged that the temptation to drink would be overwhelming under the circumstances. She also reminded him of how dangerous it would be for him to drink, have thoughts of suicide, and have access to guns. When asked about the supportive people in his life, John said his boss, Steve, had been very supportive. “Steve knows everything going on.” John said that he had talked to him for a while at work that morning and left work due to the stress of his depression and anxiety. John also indicated that his family is also a support, but they have a difficult time understanding.
After expressing a desire to be somewhere safe, the CC and John explored the option of going to the crisis stabilization center. John wanted to drive himself but the temptation to stop and buy alcohol was very strong. The CC strongly encouraged him to ask for help from someone and eventually he agreed to let the CC call his boss. Steve agreed to pick John up and take him. When the CC reconnected with John, he was at his parents. The CC spoke to John's Mom and explained what to look for regarding suicidality and the importance of removing guns and alcohol from the home. The CC spoke to John again and made a plan for ongoing support with follow-up every other day. The calls with John revealed that while still sad, he was feeling better with the support of his family, boss and the follow-up calls. Everyone is encouraging John to continue counseling.
John’s story is not uncommon. MT consistently ranks 1 or 2 for suicide rates per capita, at a rate double the national average. A suicidal person may not know how to find help and often won’t ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that help isn’t wanted or needed. People who take their lives don’t want to die—they just want to stop hurting. Suicide prevention starts with everyone recognizing the warning signs. Having access and knowing to find help is essential to a healthy, more resilient community for everyone.
The impact of your dollars
- Normalization & understanding of behavioral health (i.e. Our community normalizes and understands that behavioral health is a component of whole-person health)
- People recognize signs & symptoms of behavioral health & illness (i.e. 3,000+ individuals participate in one or more mental health learning opportunities)
- People know how & are willing to access help (i.e. Shown by an increase in calls to Help Center 2-1-1)
- Mental healthcare is available (i.e. GGUW funds, advocates and works collaboratively to being mental healthcare to workplaces, community events and other venues)
- People contribute to others’ well-being (i.e. 100+ employers actively engaging in improving the mental health of their employees)