Number of suicide attempts by Butte-area youth falls

Posted at 10:16 AM, Apr 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-04 12:16:46-04

BUTTE – The number of youth suicide attempts have fallen in Butte, according to a report released by the City-County of Butte-Silver Bow Health Department.

The Community Action Team (CAT) said youth suicide attempts in Butte-Silver Bow have decreased from 17 percent to 12 percent over the past three years.

“This effort is being spearheaded by the Community Action Team, and we are making steady progress,” said Jim O’Neill, CAT co-chair. “This dramatic decrease is a direct result of our community pulling together.”

The CAT was established in early 2014 in response to a rash of youth suicides in the Butte community. Since that time, the team has established a “healthy and resilient” vision for the community that organizers said "includes all of our neighbors, young and old alike."

The CAT consists of local providers (medical and mental health), school officials, the county health department, local businesses (including Northwestern Energy and Town Pump, Inc.), law enforcement, clergy and many more. The collaboration has achieved many accomplishments since its inception, including:

  • Coordination with the “Support, Outreach and Access for the Resiliency of Students (SOARS) grant and the Butte School District
  • 527 adults have been trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA)
  • YMHFA trainings have resulted in 475 referrals to mental health services
  • Of the 527 adults who have been trained, 95 percent said that they strongly agree in their ability to identify youth with behavioral, emotional or mental health needs
  • 50 to 75 juniors and seniors are being trained in YMHFA annually
  • Four additional YMHFA trainers have been added to Butte’s team, bringing to a total of six trainers
  • Funding has been secured to have two people trained in Adult Mental Health First Aid
  • 1,200 students annually are being trained in the Signs of Suicide program
  • A six-month radio campaign addressed the stigma of mental health
  • Through the ChildWise Institute’s Elevate Montana initiative, 14 people were trained to present on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs); these people are available to present to any community member and/or organization
  • An electronic consented referral system – CONNECT Butte – is being rolled out
  • A multi-tiered system of support has been developed for Butte School District No. 1
  • Students receiving Tier 2 supports have increased from 1.5 percent to 21 percent
  • The “Let’s Talk” app has been designed and developed for youth
  • More than 2,000 gunlocks have been distributed throughout the community
  • Workshops featuring national expert Stacy York have been conducted related to building a resilient, trauma-informed community.