One in 5 people in Yellowstone County have considered suicide. Montana has one of the worst suicide rates among the 50 states.

Since 2003, the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Yellowstone Valley has worked to help prevent suicide in our community. Our members include more than 15 organizations, plus individual concerned citizens. We work collaboratively to provide culturally sensitive education, to increase public awareness, and to foster access to available resources for anyone feeling hopeless.

One way our community can help to prevent suicide is to create connectedness. This could be as simple as reaching out to a neighbor who you have not seen in a while. It could be getting together with a small group of people who share the same interests.

“Strong, positive relationships with others can be protective and prevent against suicidal thoughts and behaviors,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Connectedness between individuals can lead to increased frequency of social contact, lowered levels of social isolation or loneliness, and an increased number of positive relationships.”

Yellowstone County organizations are working to create connections for people in at-risk groups. For example, Dog Tag Buddies pairs veterans with service dogs so that the veteran can live a purposeful and fulfilling life. Veteran’s Navigation Network, a newly formed not-for-profit, assists former military personnel to ensure smooth transitions to civilian life.