BILLINGS, Mt. - Governor Steve Bullock joined healthcare professionals in Billings today to announce grants for suicide prevention efforts for service members, veterans and their families that was awarded through the Montana's Governor Challenge.
The House Bill 696 was passed in the 2019 legislative session. This set aside 500,000 dollars for suicide prevention grants. 250,000 of the funds were committed to the Governor's Challenge.
In 2019 Montana was selected as one of seven states to participate in the Governor's Challenge. The Governor's Challenge on suicide prevention is a partnership between the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The US Department of Veteran Affairs and State Governments to implement best public health practices at the state level.
While the challenge is aimed at helping veterans Governor Bullock says it will also help the general population.
"We have a long way to go in Montana with suicide overall but the steps that are being taken here and the efforts that are happening with what was an intensely personal experience but recognized with how you can take that for the greater good is how we can make a difference," says Governor Bullock.
Billings Urban Indian Health Center, Dog Tag Buddies, Lewis and Clark County Health Department, Riverstone Health, Yellowstone United Way and Veterans Navigation Network were all awarded grants through the Montana Governor's Challenge.
The Federal government hosts a similar program for local governments called the Mayor's Challenge. Billings and Helena host two of the 22 nationwide Mayor's Challenges.