The Roundup -

District II Receives Grant for Suicide Prevention Programs


On February 28, Montana Governor Steve Bullock announced the recipients of Suicide Prevention grants totaling $372,000. District II Alcohol and Drug received $63,000 to implement STEP UP (Strategies and Tools Embrace Prevention with Upstream Programs) in 13 schools in their 11 county service area, including all four schools in Richland County with middle school. District II has also applied for additional grants to cover the $95,000 cost of the program, and is welcoming donations from the public.

STEP UP is an evidence-based social and emotional learning based curriculum aimed at promoting positive mental health, building emotional competence, and creating a safe school climate. STEP UP includes eight key concepts and skill sets: social connections; identifying and expressing feelings safely; respecting boundaries; building empathy; mood control; stopping manipulation; self-regulation; and self-motivation. These concepts are taught over 16, 25-minute lessons delivered once or twice per week. Nine lessons also provide parents or caregivers with resources, follow-up strategies, and suggestions to reinforce program skills at home.

District II will work to train school counselors, teachers and principals or arrange to have their professionals come in to the school to present the program. They plan to have the program implemented by the start of the 2018-19 school year, starting immediately to get agreements in place, followed by training sessions this summer.

Montana consistently has one of the highest rates of suicide in the nation. In its mission of suicide prevention, District II is assisting extension specialist Josie Evanson in conducting QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) which is CPR for individuals contemplating suicide. With another certified facilitator, more kids can be helped to focus on what's right and wrong, and helped to converse with their parents or other responsible adults.

A speaking event for the public is being planned as well as providing apps for kids, which are geared toward prevention of suicide and bullying in general.

Despite budget cuts, District II is stable and able to continue services without interruption due to their strong financial and client background. They provide strong treatment and prevention programs although the length of an individual's treatment may be reduced due to federal and state cuts in Medicare and Medicaid.

Please contact District II Alcohol and Drug at 406-433-4097 or stop by 106 2nd St. S.W., Sidney if you have any questions, or to donate to their programs.


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