The battle of suicide prevention in the Mayor's Challenge contin - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

The battle of suicide prevention in the Mayor's Challenge continues

Posted: Updated:
BILLINGS, Mont. -

The mayors of Helena and Billings both accepted the challenge to elevate the issue of suicide prevention among military service members. In April, the challenge was started by the Veterans Administration to identify cities across the country that have high rates of suicide.

Dr. Claire Oakley is the director of health promotion at Riverstone Health. She said Montana now has the highest veteran suicide rate in the country, compared to April, when the state was second.

Dr. Oakley said this means the rate of suicide among veterans, nationally, is 30 per 100 thousand people, or, 20 per day. Montana is at 50 per 100 thousand. She said educating the public will help prevention in any situation and that applies to veteran suicide.

"People have long felt that if you mention the word suicide, you're going to cause someone to tip into suicidal idealization or suiciding when the evidence is really the opposite," Dr. Oakley said.

On top of educating the community about suicide, Dr. Oakley said Riverstone Health is working on peer-to-peer efforts, establishing websites for information, providing support groups, and expanding 2-1-1 efforts.

Mayor Cole, who accepted the Mayor's Challenge, said he hopes the efforts in Billings to prevent suicide will spread throughout the state.

"If some of these programs that we're working on for veterans and service members and their families are successful and they can be adopted in the school district, at the university level, or amongst private employer's in town, that could have a very positive ripple effect and that'd be a great measure of success," Mayor Cole said.

The Billings Police Department has taken part in veteran suicide prevention.

"Both the city of Billings through the police department and Riverstone Health are going to pilot military cultural awareness in our employees so that we're ready to serve fellow employees and we're ready to serve the public who comes into our doors."

Dr. Oakley said it takes community effort to lower the suicide rate.

"Our vision is of Billings as a community of support for service members, veterans, and their families in which to live, work, and play."

Mayor and Dr. Oakley say the effort to lower veteran suicide rates will not happen overnight.

"We're not going to be able to move the needle immediately," Dr. Oakley said. "It's going to take years to move the needle and see positive change."

  • LocalMore>>

  • Mountain Lions spotted in Billings

    Mountain Lions spotted in Billings

    Tuesday, September 18 2018 9:43 PM EDT2018-09-19 01:43:38 GMT
    A Facebook post shared this week talks of Mountain Lions within Billings city limits.  Multiple people spotted the Mountain Lions on the west end of town heading towards the Rims. Residents were concerned in the comments of the post but Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Bob Gibson and ZooMontana Executive Director Jeff Ewelt said Mountain Lions frequent the Billings area.  Gibson said FWP is frequently notified of lions on the outskirts of the Heights and West End.  Ewelt said ...
    A Facebook post shared this week talks of Mountain Lions within Billings city limits.  Multiple people spotted the Mountain Lions on the west end of town heading towards the Rims. Residents were concerned in the comments of the post but Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Bob Gibson and ZooMontana Executive Director Jeff Ewelt said Mountain Lions frequent the Billings area.  Gibson said FWP is frequently notified of lions on the outskirts of the Heights and West End.  Ewelt said ...
  • Grizzly encounters increase as Fall arrives

    Grizzly encounters increase as Fall arrives

    Tuesday, September 18 2018 9:28 PM EDT2018-09-19 01:28:42 GMT
    Over the past several days more and more bear sightings and encounters have been reported.  As winter is looming bear's hunt for food becomes more vital and you just may be in the way.  ZooMontana Executive Director, Jeff Ewelt, said this is a time to be very bear aware.  That's because the two to four months before hibernation bears are in hyperphagia.  Jeff said, "Basically what that is, is a two to four month period where they're in hyperactivity looking fo...
    Over the past several days more and more bear sightings and encounters have been reported.  As winter is looming bear's hunt for food becomes more vital and you just may be in the way.  ZooMontana Executive Director, Jeff Ewelt, said this is a time to be very bear aware.  That's because the two to four months before hibernation bears are in hyperphagia.  Jeff said, "Basically what that is, is a two to four month period where they're in hyperactivity looking fo...
  • Montana College Fair Circuit makes its way to Billings

    Montana College Fair Circuit makes its way to Billings

    Tuesday, September 18 2018 7:48 PM EDT2018-09-18 23:48:08 GMT

    The statewide Montana College Fair Circuit welcomes almost 2,000 students at the Alterowitz Gymnasium on the campus of MSU-Billings Tuesday.

    The statewide Montana College Fair Circuit welcomes almost 2,000 students at the Alterowitz Gymnasium on the campus of MSU-Billings Tuesday.

  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Name released of suspect in trespassing at Old Faithful at Yellowstone

    Name released of suspect in trespassing at Old Faithful at Yellowstone

    Tuesday, September 18 2018 4:02 PM EDT2018-09-18 20:02:16 GMT

    A crowd watching Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park was alarmed to see an adult man leave the boardwalk and stand on some of the park's most beloved - and dangerous - thermal features.

    A crowd watching Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park was alarmed to see an adult man leave the boardwalk and stand on some of the park's most beloved - and dangerous - thermal features.

  • Caught on Camera: Man steps into Old Faithful as tourists yell

    Caught on Camera: Man steps into Old Faithful as tourists yell

    Sunday, September 16 2018 1:36 PM EDT2018-09-16 17:36:51 GMT
    Ashley Lemanski captures video of a man standing on Old Faithful Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018Ashley Lemanski captures video of a man standing on Old Faithful Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018
    Ashley Lemanski captures video of a man standing on Old Faithful Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018Ashley Lemanski captures video of a man standing on Old Faithful Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018

    Tourists visiting Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park were beside themselves as they observed what appears to be an adult man dressed in black leave the boardwalk and stand on the geyser. 

    Tourists visiting Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park were beside themselves as they observed what appears to be an adult man dressed in black leave the boardwalk and stand on the geyser. 

  • Meeting to vote on Supreme Court Nominee Kavanaugh cancelled

    Meeting to vote on Supreme Court Nominee Kavanaugh cancelled

    Tuesday, September 18 2018 4:56 PM EDT2018-09-18 20:56:08 GMT
    The Senate Judiciary Committee has cancelled a meeting for Thursday, September 20th. A vote to confirm Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh was scheduled for that day. It is unclear if the cancellation is related to allegations of sexual misconduct that recently came to light against the judge. This is a developing story. 
    The Senate Judiciary Committee has cancelled a meeting for Thursday, September 20th. A vote to confirm Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh was scheduled for that day. It is unclear if the cancellation is related to allegations of sexual misconduct that recently came to light against the judge. This is a developing story. 
  • Hunting guide killed and hunter injured in Wyoming bear attack during elk hunt

    Hunting guide killed and hunter injured in Wyoming bear attack during elk hunt

    Sunday, September 16 2018 11:59 AM EDT2018-09-16 15:59:50 GMT
    https://www.gofundme.com/mark-uptainhttps://www.gofundme.com/mark-uptain

    The body of a hunting guide was recovered Saturday following a bear attack Friday 5.8 miles northeast of the Turpin Meadow Trailhead.

    The body of a hunting guide was recovered Saturday following a bear attack Friday 5.8 miles northeast of the Turpin Meadow Trailhead.

  • Bear spotted on MSU campus

    Bear spotted on MSU campus

    Monday, September 17 2018 1:17 PM EDT2018-09-17 17:17:28 GMT

    A bear was spotted on the Montana State University campus, prompting a warning from the university. 

    A bear was spotted on the Montana State University campus, prompting a warning from the university. 

  • Armed robbery suspect at large

    Armed robbery suspect at large

    Monday, September 17 2018 1:52 PM EDT2018-09-17 17:52:14 GMT

    According to Billings Police, a strong armed robbery occurred at a private residence on the 3600 block of Olympic Boulevard around 10:30 on Monday, September 17th. 

    According to Billings Police, a strong armed robbery occurred at a private residence on the 3600 block of Olympic Boulevard around 10:30 on Monday, September 17th. 

  • Remains of Flathead reservation resident found in North Dakota

    Remains of Flathead reservation resident found in North Dakota

    Tuesday, September 18 2018 12:26 PM EDT2018-09-18 16:26:38 GMT

    MANNING, N.D.- Authorities say a body found in North Dakota belongs to a person from the Flathead Indian Reservation. 

    MANNING, N.D.- Authorities say a body found in North Dakota belongs to a person from the Flathead Indian Reservation. 

  • Yellowstone visitors flee aggressive elk in new video

    Yellowstone visitors flee aggressive elk in new video

    Monday, September 17 2018 12:44 PM EDT2018-09-17 16:44:28 GMT

    It's another elk v. tourists encounter in Yellowstone. Less than a week after an incident where a man was knocked over by a charging bull elk, a new video posted over the weekend shows a different incident involving park visitors fleeing elk. As a reminder, park officials recommend staying at least 25 yards away from grazing animals, and even farther if animals are exhibiting aggressive or uneasy behavior. It's currently rut season for elk, and bulls may be particularly aggress...

    It's another elk v. tourists encounter in Yellowstone. Less than a week after an incident where a man was knocked over by a charging bull elk, a new video posted over the weekend shows a different incident involving park visitors fleeing elk. As a reminder, park officials recommend staying at least 25 yards away from grazing animals, and even farther if animals are exhibiting aggressive or uneasy behavior. It's currently rut season for elk, and bulls may be particularly aggress...