If you or someone you know are in crisis, please call the 

Montana Suicide Prevention & Mental Health Crisis Lifeline 

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Or, use the Crisis Text Line, text MT to 741-741


Montana Suicide Awareness & Prevention Training Act

 

Description:  The Montana Suicide Awareness and Prevention Training Act was passed by the Montana Legislature in 2015.  The Act directs the Montana Office of Public Instruction to provide training and technical assistance to schools in Montana about youth suicide awareness and prevention training.  House Bill 381 Training Guidance Document was designed to help your school community decide what kind of training fits with your current needs.

Find CSCT District Information

What is the Bill?

Key Components of the Law:

  • The legislature recommends schools make suicide prevention training available annually to staff; at least 2 hours every 5 years
  • Training is free to staff
  • Training can be provided by:
    • In person
    • Video conferencing
    • Individual program of study
    • On-line
    • Any other method chosen by local school board that is consistent with professional training standards
  • The trustees of a school district shall establish policies, procedures, or plans related to suicide prevention and response
  • No cause of action may be brought for any loss or damage caused by any act or omission resulting from the implementation of the provisions, or resulting from any training, related to this section. Nothing in this section shall be construed to impose specific duty of care

2020 Suicide Mortality by State; Source: Center of Disease Control; All rates are per 100,000 population; AL, 16; AK, 27.5; AZ, 17.6; AR, 19; CA, 10; CO, 21.5; CT, 9.3; DE, 12.3; FL, 13.2; GA, 13.7; HI, 12.9; ID, 23.2; IL, 10.5; IN, 15; IA, 18; KS, 18.4; KY, 17.7; LA, 13.7; ME, 16.4; MD, 9.2; MA, 8.4; MI, 14; MN, 13.1; MS, 13.9; MO, 18.2; MT, 26.1; NE, 14.9; NV, 18.2; NH, 16.4; NJ, 7.1; NM, 24.2; NY, 8; NC, 13.2; ND, 18.2; OH, 13.8; OK, 21.9; OR, 18.3; PA, 12.6; RI, 8.5; SC, 16.3; SD, 21; TN, 17.2; TX, 13.3; UT, 20.8; VT, 18.1; VA, 13.5; WA, 15.2; WV, 19.4; WI, 14.5; WY, 30.5

Which Training Fits My School?

Universal

Overview of Youth Suicide on the Montana Teacher Learning Hub 

  • Provides an overview of suicide in the U.S., an introduction to youth suicide-related behavior, the importance of youth voice, and includes information on the Bitterroot Valley Education Cooperative Suicide Prevention Project.  This course is the first in a three part series on suicide. 

Kognito 

  • Their proprietary Kognito Conversation Platform allows participants to implement learning through role-play conversations with emotionally responsive virtual humans. Participants receive feedback and suggestions after these conversations are completed. Participants also receive a course summary, summary of best practices, and/or a listing of local and national resources.  Kognito At Risk Courses are available free of charge on the Montana Teacher Learning Hub.  

Jason Foundation 

  • The Jason Foundation series of online Staff Development Training Modules provide information on the awareness and prevention of youth suicide suitable for teachers, coaches, other school personnel.  These modules are provided at no cost to participants.  Each module is designed for a two-hour block of time.

Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR

  • Just like CPR, QPR is an emergency response to someone in crisis and can save lives. QPR is the most widely taught Gatekeeper training in the world and can be provided in a three-hour in-person session with your staff in groups up to 30 people.

Safe Schools 

  • School districts that participate in MTSBA’s Montana Schools Group Insurance Authority (MSGIA) property and liability program have free access to online trainings in the area of Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention. The two-hour online course meets the requirements of the Jason Flatt Act and offers school staff members an awareness-level understanding of the facts about youth suicide, causes of youth suicide, basic principles of suicide prevention and planning for the aftermath of a suicide within the school community.

School District Policy 

  • House Bill 381 now states that trustees of a school district shall establish policies, procedures, or plans related to suicide prevention and response.  It is critical for schools to train their staff on the district policy regarding suicide prevention and response.

Youth Mental Health First Aid 

  • Youth Mental Health First Aid is an eight hour in-person training designed to teach parents, family members, schools, and others how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. This program also currently has an online facilitated training available.   YMHFA training can be scheduled through your regional Montana Area Health Education Center (AHEC) or through other local trainers. 

Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM) 

  • A classroom mental health promotion program that aims to raise mental health awareness about risk and protective factors associated with suicide, including knowledge about depression and anxiety, and enhance the skills and emotional resiliency needed to deal with stress and crisis. The adolescents learn from both a professional and from each other through a mix of cognitive, emotional, and experiential learning.

Targeted

Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR

  • Just like CPR, QPR is an emergency response to someone in crisis and can save lives. QPR is the most widely taught Gatekeeper training in the world and can be provided in a three-hour in-person session with your staff in groups up to 30 people.

SafeTALK 

  • A half-day in person alertness workshop that prepares anyone over the age of 15, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper.  SafeTALK-trained helpers can recognize suicide invitations and take action by connecting them with life-saving intervention resources, such as caregivers trained in ASIST.

Suicide Procedures 


Intensive

Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) 

  • A 16-hour in-person training for anyone 16 or older, regardless of prior experience, who wants to be able to provide suicide first aid. Shown by major studies to significantly reduce suicidality, the ASIST model teaches effective intervention skills while helping to build suicide prevention networks in the community.

Suicide Procedures 

  • House Bill 381 now states that trustees of a school district shall establish policies, procedures, or plans related to suicide prevention and response.  It is critical to train staff on these protocols so staff know how to handle a situation appropriately and aligned with district procedures.

What's Next?

What's Next

Implementing any protocol requires adequate supervision and licensure of staff.  Simply being exposed to a document does not mean someone is adequately trained to facilitate the implementation of a suicide protocol.

Once your school has completed training with staff on how to identify a child who may be struggling, you may be wondering what to do next. Most schools determine that the next step is to develop some formal processes or protocols for how the building will effectively and efficiently respond to a concern for a child’s mental wellness.  Some common questions that arise include:

  • Once we identify a child might be struggling, who do we send them to?
  • What if our school doesn’t have a Comprehensive School and Community Treatment (CSCT) or other mental health professional in the building?
  • What if our community doesn’t have professional mental health services?
  • Who in our building is trained and ready to assess the suicidal risk of a child?
  • What if a child is in need of follow-up support?
  • Who has the conversation with parents?

These questions are important for schools to answer to feel confident they are doing the best they can to support children who may be suicidal. 


Resources

Montana Crisis Action School Toolkit 

  • On Suicide (Montana CAST-S 2017) was developed by Dr. Scott Polland and Dr. Donna Polland in a collaboration between the Big Sky Regional Council and NAMI Montana to support Montana school communities in meeting the requirements of Montana's state legislation statutes HB 381 (2017) and HB 374 (2015).

OVERVIEW OF A SUICIDE EMERGENCY OPERATIONS PLAN ANNEX: 

  • This document includes items for a school to consider when creating a comprehensive Emergency Operations Plan with a specific hazard annex on suicide.  Included in this document are tips for schools to address in the planning phases including: 1) Prevention 2) Protection 3) Mitigation 4) Response and 5) Recovery.

COPING WITH THE SUDDEN DEATH OF A STUDENT

  • This document was created by the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency in Bettendorf Iowa and includes a step by step guide for administrators in dealing with the Response and Recovery stages of a student death.

Peace Protocol

MONTANA SCHOOL-BASED CRISIS INTERVENTION PROJECT

SOCIAL MEDIA AND SUICIDE

SECONDARY TRAUMA & ORGANIZATIONAL RESILIENCE

SUICIDE CLUSTERS: A REVIEW OF RISK FACTORS 


Grant Opportunities

Grant Resources 

  • From the University of Montana: Center for Children, Families, and Workforce Development.  The Center wants to help Montana communities apply for grants.  Their resources include a grant search filtered for relevance to Montana, with special emphasis on rural communities.  They also offer a short training to help develop grant writing skills and are able to provide concrete assistance to schools and communities with the grant writing process.

Resources for Parents

Resources for Parents

"Before the crisis" find resources at Montana 211

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Suicide Prevention Resources

A Youth Suicide Prevention Seminar for Parents and Communities

  • A Youth Suicide Prevention Seminar for Parents and Communities” is designed specifically for parents. The seminar tackles the tough subject of youth suicide and provides strategies of awareness and prevention for parents and other adults.

Jason Foundation Resource Library

Parent Awareness Series

Families for Depression Awareness

Mental Wellness Statement Coping Cards 

  • Designed for parents, caregivers, school, and community members to provide coping strategies for young people experiencing emotional distress.

Helping Parents

  • by Dr. Scott Poland

Resources for Schools

Resources for Students

#LetsTalk App Picture        Students on the Today Show Video for the #LetsTalk App

Download the #LetsTalk App at Apple App Store ButtonGoogle Play Store Designed to support youth.

In Partnership with Alliance for Youth Logo and Link to Website and Speaking Socially Logo and Link to Website      


Evidenced Based Programs for Students on Suicide Prevention

The University of Montana Center for Children, Families, and Workforce Development provides a chart on Evidenced Based Practices for Suicide Prevention. This chart provides an overview of existing research that will continue to be maintained and updated with new programs, risk factors, or other relevant research in made available.

Youth Mental Health First AID (YMHFA

  • Designed to teach parents, family, schools, peers and others how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis.  The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a five-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. (Youth Mentor Version for 16-18)

Tools for Schools

Montana Crisis Action School Toolkit 

  • On Suicide (Montana CAST-S 2017) was developed by Dr. Scott Polland and Dr. Donna Polland in a collaboration between the Big Sky Regional Council and NAMI Montana to support Montana school communities in meeting the requirements of Montana's state legislation statutes HB 381 (2017) and HB 374 (2015). In partnership with the Montana Safe Schools Center and NAMI-Montana, we are pleased to offer this on-demand training on how schools can work to prevent and respond to youth suicide using the Montana CAST-S.

National School Mental Health Curriculum

  • Learn more about a new FREE curriculum for school mental health available in Montana from the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network. 

National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance

  • Has released the first-ever National Recommendations for Depicting Suicide in entertainment content, in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Entertainment Industries Council (EIC). Representatives from the entertainment industry and suicide prevention field provided input on the recommendations, which advance Goal 4 of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. Studies have found that the way the media covers suicide can influence behavior negatively by contributing to increased suicidal behavior among viewers, or positively by encouraging help-seeking and recovery. These new recommendations aim to help members of the entertainment industry--content creators, scriptwriters, and producers--tell more balanced and authentic stories involving suicide that promote hope and healing.

Mental Wellness Statement Coping Cards 

  • Designed for parents, caregivers, school, and community members to provide coping strategies for young people experiencing emotional distress.

Suicide Prevention Poster

In this video created by Mayo Clinic, teens describe common signs that a teen is considering suicide and provide encouragement for communicating directly and immediately for support and safety.  It also includes suggestions for what to say to a teen who may be at risk for suicide and ways to keep them safe.

A Promise for Tomorrow 

  • This curriculum unit is designed for students in grades 7-12. This study unit, “A Promise for Tomorrow,” provides students with suicide awareness and prevention information through peer support and appropriate response to peers in need.

Crisis Line: 

  • If you or someone you know are in crisis, please call the Montana Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 1-800-273-Talk (1-800-273-8255). Or, use the Crisis Text Line, text MT to 741-741.

Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools 

  • A guide to assist schools and districts in designing and implementing strategies to prevent suicide and promote behavioral health.  Includes tools to implement a multi-suicide prevention program that responds to the needs and cultures of students.

Suicide Prevention and Intervention Risk Factors & Warning Signs

Effective Suicide Prevention

  • From the Suicide Prevention Resource Center

Sample Policies & Procedures

Montana Crisis Action School Toolkit 

  • Suicide (Montana CAST-S 2017) was developed by Dr. Scott Polland and Dr. Donna Polland in a collaboration between the Big Sky Regional Council and NAMI Montana to support Montana school communities in meeting the requirements of Montana's state legislation statutes HB 381 (2017) and HB 374 (2015).

Overview of a Suicide Emergency Operations Plan Annex: 

  • This document includes items for a school to consider when creating a comprehensive Emergency Operations Plan with a specific hazard annex on suicide.  Included in this document are tips for schools to address in the planning phases including: 1) Prevention 2) Protection 3) Mitigation 4) Response and 5) Recovery.

Strategic Planning

  • From the Suicide Prevention Resource Center

Comprehensive Approach to Suicide Prevention

  • From the Suicide Prevention Resource Center

Key to Success

  • From the Suicide Prevention Resource Center

Organizing A School Crisis Response

After A Suicide Toolkit

Sample Classroom Meeting

Informing  Students

Fostering Safer Schools

  • From the National School Board Association Publication

Additional Resources

COPING WITH THE SUDDEN DEATH OF A STUDENT

  • This document was created by the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency in Bettendorf Iowa and includes a step by step guide for administrators in dealing with the Response and Recovery stages of a student death.

Peace Protocol

  • Kurt Michael, Ph.D. and Licensed Psychologist and Professor of Psychology at Appalachian State University has worked with schools in Montana to create a suicide protocol. Recent publication about the Peace Protocol and its impact in rural communities.

MONTANA SCHOOL-BASED CRISIS INTERVENTION PROJECT

SOCIAL MEDIA AND SUICIDE

SECONDARY TRAUMA & ORGANIZATIONAL RESILIENCE

SUICIDE CLUSTERS: A REVIEW OF RISK FACTORS

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OPI Staff are here to help:

Tina Eblen, Project AWARE Program Manager - 406.594.4259

Brittany Carr, School Health Program Specialist - 406.410.1038

Jamey Petersen, Coordinated School Health Unit Director - 406.437.1760

Meet the Coordinated School Health Team